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Hip Fracture Risk Higher Among Vegetarians Versus Regular Meat Eaters

Association was partly explained by their lower body mass index

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 8, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Vegetarians have a higher risk for hip fracture than regular meat eaters, according to a study published online July 27 in BMC Medicine.

James Webster, from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and colleagues compared the risk for hip fracture among occasional meat eaters (137,954), pescatarians (9,557), and vegetarians (7,638) versus regular meat eaters (258,765) participating in the U.K. Biobank.

The researchers found that when adjusting for confounders, vegetarians (hazard ratio, 1.50; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.18 to 1.91) had higher odds of hip fracture than regular meat eaters, with the increased risk not seen among occasional meat eaters (hazard ratio, 0.99; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.93 to 1.07) or pescatarians (hazard ratio, 1.08; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.35). The adjusted absolute risk difference was 3.2 more hip fractures per 1,000 people over 10 years in vegetarians. Body mass index (BMI) had limited evidence of effect modification on hip fracture risk across diet groups, and there was no clear evidence of effect modification by age or sex. BMI explained 28 percent of the observed risk difference between vegetarians and regular meat eaters in mediation analyses.

“Ensuring adequate nutrient intake and weight management are therefore particularly important in vegetarians in the context of hip fracture prevention,” the authors write.

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