Hip fracture is a major problem worldwide and Singapore has one of the highest incidences of hip fracture in Asia.

​These fractures tend to occur in elderly people, particularly post-menopausal women, with low bone mineral density or osteoporosis which makes it easy to break the bone even in non-trauma situations.

“Hip fracture in the elderly usually occurs after a simple fall and the patient complains of pain and inability to move the hip. The impact of hip fracture on mortality, health care cost and quality of life is considerable hence it would be worthwhile to ‘invest’ in good bones to reduce the risk of fracture,” says Dr Matthew Tan Zhen-Wei, Associate Consultant, Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Hip fracture symptoms

Common hip fracture symptoms include:

  • Inability to stand or walk after a fall
  • Severe hip pain or groin pain
  • Bruising, swelling or stiffness in the hip area
  • Foot turned out oddly on injured side of hip
  • Leg appearing shorter on injured side of hip

“Hip fracture is usually an obvious acute event following a fall that would necessitate a visit to the emergency room. It would be unusual, though possible, to present with milder symptoms in a chronic fashion. Do consult your doctor if you are concerned,” says Dr Tan.​

A diet rich in vegetables, fruits and soy products may lower risk of hip fracture​

A diet rich in vegetables, fruits and soy products may lower risk of hip fracture in Chinese, says Singapore study. The risk of hip fracture increases with factors such as advanced age, lower body weight, physical inactivity and smoking. Avoidance of dairy products and having a low-calcium diet would also be detrimental to the bone.

A study carried out by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Duke-NUS in Singapore found that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and soy products was associated with a lower risk of hip fracture among Chinese men and women.

“Consuming a plant-based diet enriched with vegetables, fruit, and soy foods, which has been recommended for the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, may also contribute importantly to the prevention of osteoporotic hip fractures,” says the study published in April 2014, in the Journal of Nutrition.

In this study led by Associate Professor Koh Woon Puay, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, and NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, two distinct Chinese dietary patterns were identified: one high in vegetables, fruits and soy-based foods, and the other high in meat and carbohydrate-rich dim-sum.

Results of the diet and hip fracture study

The study found that those who were in the top 20 per cent of the group consuming a diet high in vegetables, fruits and soy-based foods had a 34 per cent lower risk of developing a hip fracture than those who were in the lowest 20 per cent. The meat-dim-sum diet did not have any apparent effect on the risk of hip fracture.

The researchers concluded that an Asian diet rich in plant-based foods, namely vegetables, fruits, and legumes such as soy, may reduce the risk of hip fracture.

“This study reinforced the notion that having more fruits and vegetables and soy-based food in one’s diet is a good thing not just for overall health but perhaps also for healthy bones,” says Dr Tan.

Ref: R14