Reduced Risk for Hip Fracture

A new study shows moderate levels of activity are linked to reducing the risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women.

Previous studies showed active adults have a reduced risk of 20 percent to 50 percent for hip fractures over non-active adults. The most common form of activity for older adults is walking, which can increase bone density and reduce the risk for fractures. This new study evaluated the benefits of walking and leisure-time activities, and the risk of hip fractures for postmenopausal women.

Researchers analyzed data from a 12-year follow-up of 61,200 postmenopausal women ages 40 to 77, who had no prior history of cancer, heart disease, stroke, or osteoporosis. Researchers found that the risk for hip fractures for postmenopausal women were reduced by 6 percent for every three hours of walking per week. Women who walked an average of 24 hours a week had a 55-percent reduction of risk for hip fractures over women who were sedentary or who had less than three hours a week of activity.

Researchers write, “Even women with a lower risk of hip fracture due to higher body weight experienced a further reduction in risk with higher levels of activity. Among women who did no other exercise, walking for at least four hours a week was associated with a 41-percent lower risk of hip fracture compared with less than one hour a week. More time spent standing was also independently associated with lower risks.” They also conclude that hormone replacement therapy was linked to a reduced risk of hip fractures, but did not provide an additional reduction for the most active women.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002;288:2300-2306

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