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Dietary protein may reduce hip fractures in the elderly
Date:5/4/2010

BOSTONSeniors who consume a higher level of dietary protein are less likely to suffer hip fractures than seniors whose daily dietary protein intake is less, according to a new study by the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

The study, which examined the daily protein intake of 946 seniors from the Framingham Osteoporosis Study, found that individuals who were in the lowest 25 percent of dietary protein intake had approximately 50 percent more hip fractures than those who consumed greater amounts of dietary protein (all within normal intakes). Those who suffered hip fractures consumed less than the 46 grams of dietary protein per day recommended for adults.

"Study participants who consumed higher amounts of protein in their diet were significantly less likely to suffer a hip fracture," says senior study author Marian T. Hannan, D.Sc., M.P.H., co-director of the Musculoskeletal Research Program at the Institute for Aging Research.

The study, which was funded in part by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, will be published this week in the online-first edition of Osteoporosis International. It builds on previous studies that included mostly women and reported a relationship between greater dietary protein intake and decreased risk of hip fracture.

While other studies have shown that dietary protein intake is also linked with higher bone mineral density, Dr. Hannan says dietary protein may further protect elderly people against hip fracture by building stronger muscles in the legs. Most fractures occur after a fall, which may be caused by less muscle mass and decreased strength in the lower extremities.

Dr. Hannan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, recommends that older women consume at least 46 grams of protein per day, and that older men consume at least 56 grams of protein daily. This can come from
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Contact: Scott Edwards
Edwards@hrca.harvard.edu
781-247-8172
Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research
Source:Eurekalert

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