Vegetarian diet and risk of hip fracture


Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Women Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK's Heart Care Foundation of India    16 August 2022

Women who eat a vegetarian diet have a higher probability of suffering a hip fracture compared to women who were regular meat eaters, suggests a study of participants from the UK Womens Cohort Study published in the journal BMC Medicine.1

In this study, a 217-item food frequency questionnaire was used to categorize women aged 35-69 years as vegetarian (did not eat neither meat nor fish), regular meat-eaters (ate ≥ 5 servings of meat per week), occasional meat-eaters (less than 5 servings in a week) and pescatarian (ate fish but did not eat meat). The calcium intake was comparable among all the diet groups. Researchers sought to examine the possible risk of hip fracture in each group. The follow-up time was a median of 22.3 years. A total of 822 hip fracture cases were recorded among the 26,318 women included in the study.

Results showed that vegetarian women were at a 33% higher risk of hip fracture compared to women who ate meat regularly with a hazard ratio of 1.33. However, no such association was noted among women who were occasional meat eaters or pescatarians with HR 1.00 and HR 0.97, respectively. Although no correlation of the diet with BMI was noted, underweight women with BMI less than 23.5 were at a 46% higher risk for fracture, irrespective of the type of diet.


  1. Webster J, et al. Risk of hip fracture in meat-eaters, pescatarians, and vegetarians: results from the UK Womens Cohort Study. BMC Med. 2022 Aug 11;20(1):275. doi: 10.1186/s12916-022-02468-0.

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