Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and are more likely to break. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass, putting them at risk for broken bones. Therefore, researchers are continuing to work towards finding strategies to improve bone health and decrease osteoporosis risk.
The Musculoskeletal Research Program at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew SeniorLife takes a particular interest in looking at osteoporosis, as it relates to nutrition, lifestyle and genetics. Nearly 75% of all hip fractures occur in women, which lead to fatalities for one-quarter of adults 65+ within six months of fracture. Hence, in our studies, we focus on older men and women who are more likely to encounter age-related bone loss and subsequent fractures.
We recently completed a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, which found that the consumption of milk and yogurt, on a regular basis may lower their risk for hip fracture later in life. Our study discovered that a daily dairy consumption may very well be the first step toward hip fracture prevention. For senior men and women who had medium to high consumption of milk (which is considered to be more than one serving per week) there was a significant 40% reduction in hip fracture risk compared to those who consumed less than or equal to one serving of milk per week.
Additionally, for senior men and women who consumed medium to high levels of both milk and yogurt per week, there was a 20% reduction in hip fracture risk compared to those who consumed less than or equal to one serving of milk per week.
Dairy food sources are rich in important nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and protein. To reap the benefits of dairy for bone health, I suggest following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010), which recommends 3 servings of low-fat dairy per day.
For those who are lactose intolerant, it’s vital to get these nutrients from other non-dairy sources such as dark green leafy vegetables such as collard and kale, dried beans and legumes. Alternatively, milk can be consumed if it has lactase enzyme added to it.
References: Sahni S, Mangano KM, Tucker KL, Kiel DP, Casey VA, Hannan MT. Protective association of milk intake on the risk of hip fracture: Results from the Framingham Original Cohort. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2014 Aug; 29(8), 1756-1762. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2219.
About Rehabilitative Services Unit for Short-term Stay at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, at locations in Boston and Dedham, offers short-term, skilled nursing care for patients who require rehabilitation services following an acute hospital stay before returning to their home in the community. Both locations offer an outstanding array of health care treatment options, ideal for patients recovering from a variety of medical or surgical conditions, including: stroke, trauma, infection, chronic conditions or post-surgical care requiring rehabilitation. HRC is staffed by Harvard Medical School-affiliated physicians, representing dozens of medical specialties, as well as compassionate nurses and therapists, all working to help each patient reach their goal of optimal health.