HealthDay News — Compared with regular meat eaters, vegetarians, but not occasional meat eaters or pescatarians, have increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study of women in the United Kingdom published online Aug. 11 in BMC Medicine.

James Webster, Ph.D., from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and colleagues classified U.K. women, aged 35 to 69 years, as regular meat eaters (at least five servings/week), occasional meat eaters (fewer than five servings/week), pescatarian, or vegetarian based on a validated food frequency questionnaire. The association with incident hip fractures was examined over a median follow-up of 22.3 years.

The researchers observed 822 hip fractures among 26,318 women (556,331 person-years). Compared with regular meat eaters, the risk of hip fracture was increased for vegetarians (hazard ratio, 1.33; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.71), but not occasional meat eaters (hazard ratio, 1.00; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.85 to 1.18) or pescatarians (hazard ratio, 0.97; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.75 to 1.26) after adjustment for confounders. No clear evidence was seen for effect modification by body mass index (BMI) in any diet group.

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“Further research exploring the roles of BMI and nutrients abundant in animal-sourced foods is recommended so that public health interventions and policy guidelines aiming to reduce hip fracture risk in vegetarians through dietary change or weight management can be formed,” the authors write.

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