One of the most dreaded complications for older women is a broken hip. But there are ways women can lower their risk.
A long-running study of about 90,000 women shows that those who follow a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern are less likely to break a hip. The women were participants in the Women’s Health Initiative trial. Their average age at the beginning of the study was about 63 and the follow-up lasted for 16 years.
What Did the Women Eat?
The Women’s Health Initiative did not assign diets to the volunteers, but they answered questions periodically about what they were eating. The researchers analyzed their food intake to see how close they came to any of four pre-determined dietary patterns: the Healthy Eating Index, the Alternate Healthy Eating Index, the Alternate Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.
The Mediterranean Diet Wins for Preventing a Broken Hip:
Statistical analysis revealed that women who followed a Mediterranean diet most closely were 20 percent less likely to suffer a broken hip. The absolute risk reduction was extremely small, even though it was significant: about one-third of one percent.
Still, there are plenty of other health benefits from following a Mediterranean diet such as fewer cardiovascular complications (New England Journal of Medicine, Apr. 4, 2013), a lower likelihood of diabetes (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online Jan. 30, 2013) and a reduction in breast cancer (JAMA Internal Medicine, Nov., 2015)
An editorial by Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard points out that “Integration of the Mediterranean diet and related dietary patterns into medical practice, hospitals, schools, and other institutions has the potential to improve well-being.”
If you would like guidelines on how to follow a Mediterranean diet, you may be interested in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. We offer clear advice on this evidence-based diet.