Weight loss increases seniors' hip fracture risk

Hip fractures are a major cause of disability and premature death in seniors.

Obesity may be the curse of the modern age, but there are times when weight loss is not a good thing – if you are elderly.

A study in Singapore has found that weight loss of 10% or more in seniors significantly raises their hip fracture risk.

"The results of this study suggest that doctors should be alert to the need to identify and manage the risk in patients who have experienced substantial weight loss," says lead author Dr. Zhaoli Dai of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.

"Hip fractures are a major cause of disability and premature death in seniors, and it is therefore important that preventive action be taken in patients who are at high risk."

But it's not a carte blanche for senior to eat what they like. The study, based on data derived from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, found that weight gain did not reduce risk significantly.

The study was presented at a regional meeting of the International Osteoporosis Foundation in Taipei.

Middle-aged to elderly Singapore Chinese who lost 10% weight or more were associated with a 56% higher hip fracture risk.

The researchers used data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, a population-based cohort of 63,257 Chinese men and women aged 45-74 years at recruitment (1993-1998). After an average of 5.7 years, the researchers conducted a follow-up interview (1999-2004) among 52,322 surviving subjects in the group studied.

A total of 775 incident hip fracture cases were identified from the follow-up interview until December 31, 2010 [interval of 9.0 years]. The mean age at hip fracture was 75.3 years.

In a separate paper presented at the meeting researchers from the University of Tasmania, Anhui Medical University and Nanjing Medical University estimated the economic cost of osteoporotic fractures in China at US$9.61 billion in 2010. Women sustained approximately three times more fractures than males, accounting for 73 % of the total costs.

  1. http://www.iofbonehealth.org/taipei-2014
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