A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Lifestyle and Wrist Fractures

Reports show wrist fractures are the most commonly occurring fracture in women under 75 in the U.S. and Europe. Because some studies show that vegetarians consume less protein than non-vegetarians, there has been concern that a vegetarian diet may not provide enough protein to maintain healthy bones. Studies by Thorpe et al examined diet practices and wrist fracture numbers over a 25-year period of 1,865 women who participated in AHS-1 and AHS-2.

Findings:

  • Women who reported fractures were more likely:
    • To be older
    • To have a history of fractures
    • To report low or no vigorous physical activity
    • To have experienced menopause more than 15 years earlier
    • To have never used hormones
  • Among vegetarians, increasing vegetable protein reduced the risk of fracture
  • Among those who ate the lowest amount of vegetable protein, increasing meat intake decreased the risk of fracture.
  • Curiously, for non-vegetarians, the risk of fracture tended to increase when consuming higher levels of plant-based protein foods. One possible explanation is that the sodium in processed protein foods competes with calcium in the kidneys.
  • Additionally, the risk of arm, elbow and hip fractures for Adventists was lower than for the general population.

Related publications from AHS-2:

Effects of meat consumption and vegetarian diet on risk of wrist fracture over 25 years in a cohort of peri- and postmenopausal women.

The effect of vigorous physical activity and risk of wrist fracture over 25 years in a low-risk survivor cohort.