Individuals Following a Vegetarian Diet At Risk Of Hip Fractures, Study Shows

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A recent study from the University of Leeds suggests that individuals, both men and women, who adhere to a vegetarian diet are more susceptible to a 50% higher risk of hip fractures compared to those who consume meat regularly.

Women following vegetarian diet at risk of fractures

Research suggests that women adhering to a vegetarian diet may face an increased hip fracture risk, but reasons for this are unclear. However there are limited and inconclusive small-scale studies that have examined the effects of a vegetarian diet on men.

The study examined a dataset of 413,914 individuals, including both genders. The findings suggest that vegetarian men have a higher risk of hip fracture compared to regular meat-eating men. Also the research pinpointed certain factors contributing to increased hip fracture risk among vegetarians, irrespective of gender.

Participants for the study were initially enrolled between 2006 and 2010 as part of the UK Biobank initiative. Researchers collected their dietary information was collected and analyzed the data which they used to categorize participants into different groups based on their diet patterns. These groups included regular meat eaters, occasional meat eaters, pescatarians, and vegetarians. Researchers linked each individual data with hospital records with all hip-fracture incidences recorded in 2021 during the follow up period.

Vegetarians have a 50% increased risk of hip fractures

The study identified 3,503 hip fractures among 413,914 study participants, with an incidence rate of 0.8%. Despite the low overall risk, vegetarians exhibited a significant 50% higher risk of hip fractures than regular meat-eaters, irrespective of gender. The risk remained unchanged between occasional and regular meat-eaters, while pescatarians displayed an 8% higher risk compared to meat-eaters, which was considered insignificant.

James Webster, a doctoral researcher from the School of Food Science and Nutrition, emphasized that vegetarian individuals have a 50% higher chance of hip fractures compared to meat-eaters but that translates to only 3 additional fractures per 1000 individuals over a decade. Despite this elevated risk, the potential advantages of a vegetarian diet, such as decreased cancer and cardiovascular disease risks, might outweigh the raised risk of hip fractures.

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