Vegetarians are more at risk of hip fracture, study finds

Vegetarians are more at risk of hip fracture, study finds

Women who follow a vegetarian diet have a 33% higher risk of hip fracture during middle age compared to carnivores, according to a study done at the University of Leeds in the UK.

The research, published in the journal BMC Medicine, analyzed data from 26,318 middle-aged volunteers classified as regular carnivores, occasional carnivores, pescetarians (who eat fish and seafood but not meat) and vegetarians.

Over the past 20 years, 822 of the women have suffered hip fractures, which equates to 3% of all participants. Among vegetarians, the risk was a third higher compared to carnivores.

The researchers linked the chance of having a fracture to low intake of nutrients essential for health, which can lead to lower bone mineral density and muscle mass.

“These nutrients, such as protein and calcium, are generally more abundant in meat and other animal products than in plants,” the study authors wrote.

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According to the scientists, the average Body Mass Index (BMI) of people who didn’t eat meat or fish was slightly lower than that of those who regularly consumed protein from animal sources. The relationship between low BMI and hip fractures has already been pointed out in previous studies.

The researchers highlighted that the aim of the study is not to encourage women to abandon a vegetarian diet, but to seek nutritional counseling to reinforce the diet with nutrients found in other sources.

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