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27-10-2010 | Bone health | Article

Alcohol consumption, exercise influence fracture risk in very old women


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MedWire News: A study of nonagenerians and centenarians in China has shown that women who consume alcohol have more osteoporotic-fractures later in life than non-drinkers, whereas women who exercise in their youth have less fractures in old age than those who did not exercise.

Therefore, Therefore, exercise at a young age and alcohol withdrawal before late life may prevent osteoporotic fracture among very elderly people, remark study authors Dong Birong (Si Chuan University, Chengdu) and colleagues.

The researchers note that many studies have shown that lifestyle habits including smoking, alcohol consumption, tea consumption, and exercise, are common and potentially modifiable risk factors for osteoporotic fracture.

However, none of these studies have explored the risks among very old people, even though the number of older people in the Chinese population is increasing, they say.

For that reason, Birong and team examined the association between osteoporotic fractures and lifestyle habits among 703 Chinese men and women aged 90-105 years (mean age 93.5 years).

The researchers used questionnaires to collect sociodemographic and lifestyle data, and reviewed patients' medical records for details of osteoporosis and fractures.

They report that the overall prevalence of osteoporotic fracture was 10.2%: 5.8% in men and 12.4% in women.

Significantly more women with fractures reported currently (31.0% vs 19.2%) or formerly (42.1% vs 27.4%) consuming alcohol on most days compared with women without fractures.

In contrast, significantly fewer women with fractures used to take part in regular exercise compared with women without fractures, at 24.6% versus 52.9%.

Tea consumption and smoking habits did not differ between the women with and without fractures. There were also no significant differences in the prevalence of any of the lifestyle habits in men with and without fractures.

After adjustment for age, gender, sleep habits, educational level, religion, and temperament, the researchers found that that former alcohol consumption was associated with a 2.5-fold increased risk for fracture among men and women.

Birong and co-authors note that their findings may be confounded by physical activity because the majority (90%) of participants lived in the countryside and had worked on farms every day. "Thus this sample might not be representative of the urban population," they say.

The study data are published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Laura Dean

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