Harvard Women's Health Watch

Mediterranean diet may protect against fractures as well as high-dairy diet

Research We're Watching

In the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the emphasis shifted from healthy foods to healthy eating plans. Scientists are also focusing on the role of one's entire diet in preventing osteoporosis.

A team of German researchers analyzed data from more than 90,000 women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), who were ages 50 to 79 when they entered the study.

Participants completed the WHI food frequency questionnaire at the onset. Each one's diet was identified as being closest to one of four dietary patterns—the Mediterranean diet, the Healthy Eating Index 2010, the Al-ternate Healthy Eating Index 2010, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. During a median follow-up time of 15.9 years, women whose eating patterns were closest to the Mediterranean di-et—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, and some fish and poultry—had a margin-ally lower risk for hip fractures compared with those who adhered to other healthy eating plans, including the higher-calcium DASH diet, which specifies low-fat dairy products. The study was published online March 28, 2016, by JAMA Internal Medicine.