Blog-28 New Study Links Higher Risk of Hip Fracture in Vegetarian Women

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New Study Links Higher Risk of Hip Fracture in Vegetarian Women

Diet matters not only for weight loss/management but for future health. One study, recently published, looked at the dietary habits of women and their risk of breaking a hip. The study of over 26,000 middle-aged women revealed those with a vegetarian diet had a 33% higher risk of hip fracture compared to regular meat-eaters.

University of Leeds research investigated the risk of hip fracture in occasional meat-eaters; pescatarians, people who eat fish but not meat; and vegetarians compared to regular meat-eaters. Among 26,318 women, 822 hip fracture cases were observed over roughly 20 years -- that represented just over 3% of the sample population. After adjustment for factors such as smoking and age, vegetarians were the only diet group with an elevated risk of hip fracture.

This study is one of very few studies to compare risk of hip fracture in vegetarians and meat-eaters where the occurrence of hip fracture was confirmed from hospital records.

The scientists stress the need for more research into the exact causes of why vegetarians were at a greater risk of hip fracture.

"Our study highlights potential concerns regarding risk of hip fracture in women who have a vegetarian diet. However, it is not warning people to abandon vegetarian diets,” commented study lead author James Webster. “Vegetarian diets can vary widely from person to person and can be healthy or unhealthy, just like diets that include animal products. However, it is concerning that vegetarian diets often have lower intakes of nutrients that are linked with bone and muscle health. These types of nutrients generally are more abundant in meat and other animal products than in plants, such as protein, calcium, and other micronutrients.” 

He also noted that low intake of these nutrients can lead to lower bone mineral density and muscle mass, which can make women more susceptible to hip fracture risk.

Vegetarian diets have gained popularity in recent years. It is often perceived as a healthier dietary option, with previous evidence that shows a vegetarian diet can reduce the risks of several chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer compared to omnivorous diets.

New Study Links Higher Risk of Hip Fracture in Vegetarian Women

There is also a worldwide call for reducing the consumption of animal products to tackle climate change. Understanding hip fracture risk in vegetarians is therefore becoming increasingly important to public health, stated the researchers.

Study co-author Professor Janet Cade, emphasized that hip fracture is a global health issue with high economic costs that causes loss of independence, reduces quality of life, and increases risk of other health issues.

"Plant-based diets have been linked with poor bone health, but there has been a lack of evidence on the links to hip fracture risk. This study is an important step in understanding the potential risk plant-based diets could present over the long-term and what can be done to mitigate those risks," she said.

At Herbsea, we believe in the good health that a vegetarian diet can provide for the long-term. This study simply shows that if you are not obtaining enough of the proven bone-health ingredients (such as calcium, magnesium, vitamins D and K2) you may reduce hip fracture risk from consuming dietary supplements daily.


Webster J, et al. “Risk of hip fracture in meat-eaters, pescatarians, and vegetarians: results from the UK Women’s Cohort Study.” BMC Medicine, 2022; 20 (1) 

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