Seniors who consume a higher level of dietary protein are less likely to suffer hip fractures than seniors whose daily dietary protein intake is less, according to a new study by the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
The study found that individuals who were in the lowest 25 percent of dietary protein intake had approximately 50 percent more hip fractures than those who consumed greater amounts of dietary protein (all within normal intakes).
While other studies have shown that dietary protein intake is also linked with higher bone mineral density, Dr. Hannan says dietary protein may further protect elderly people against hip fracture by building stronger muscles in the legs. Most fractures occur after a fall, which may be caused by less muscle mass and decreased strength in the lower extremities.
In addition to increased dietary protein, Dr. Hannan says regular exercise to build stronger muscles and better balance, as well as other falls prevention strategies, such as reducing hazards in the home, can help protect seniors against falls and hip fractures.
Almost thirty years ago I attended a seminar put on by Arthur Jones inventor of Nautilus exercise equipment. He put forth the radical idea (at the time) that strength training would build stronger bones. He commissioned a study at the University of Florida to find out if strength training would increase bone density.
Researchers found that joints hurt less, bone density increased, and muscles were stronger and more toned with minimal time exercising. Our personal training programs at Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Trainers were derived from that exercise study and has been proven effective for all ages and levels of fitness.
Stronger muscles, increased bone density, better balance, increased tolerance to withstand the force of a fall result in less hip fractures. A little more protein and the right strength training program can result in a higher quality of life and a longer life.