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Hip Fracture Risk Increases with Weight Loss of 10 percent or more in Elderly

Update Date: Nov 15, 2014 12:12 PM EST

Seniors who lose at least 10 percent of their weight have a higher risk of hip fracture, a new study reported.

"The results of this study suggest that doctors should be alert to the need to identify and manage the risk in patients who have experienced substantial weight loss. Hip fractures are a major cause of disability and premature death in seniors, and it is therefore important that preventive action be taken in patients who are at high risk," lead author, Dr. Zhaoli Dai of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, stated according to the press release.

For this study, the researchers analyzed data collected by the Singapore Chinese Health Study, which enrolled 63,257 Chinese adults who were between the ages of 45 and 74 from 1993 to 1998. After tracking the participants for an average of 5.7 years, the researchers conducted a follow-up interview on the 52,322 participants who were still alive. The follow-up portion of the study took place from 1999 to 2004.

Overall, there were 775 incident hip fracture cases. The patients' mean age when they suffered from a hip fracture was 75.3 years. The team found that adults who experienced weight loss of 10 percent or more had a 56 percent increased risk of hip fracture when compared to adults with stable weight. Stable weight was defined as weight loss or gain by less than five percent. When the team accounted for factors such as health conditions and body mass index (BMI), they found that adults who lost more than 10 percent of their weight had a 39 percent greater hip fracture risk.

The researchers noted that hip fracture risk increased in adults with a baseline BMI of 20 kg/m2 or higher who lost 10 percent or more in weight. More specifically, participants who were overweight (BMI greater than 25 kg/m2) at the start of the study and lost 10 percent or more in weight experienced the greatest increase in hip fracture risk.

The team added that weight gain was not linked to hip fracture risk. The team did find that weight gain of 10 percent or more lowered risk of hip fracture in adults who had a baseline BMI of less than or equal to 25 kg/m2. However, this link was not statistically significant.

The study, "Association between body weight change and risk of hip fracture among Singapore Chinese," was presented at the IOF Regionals Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting taking place in Taipei and published in the journal, Osteoporosis International.

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