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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Risk Factors for Hip Fracture in White Women

AUTHOR:

Steven Cummings

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

Public Health Service

YEAR PUBLISHED:

1995

PUBLICATION:

The New England Journal of Medecine

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The major risk factors for hip fracture in older, white women are impaired vision, lower body weight, cigarette smoking, caffeine intake, use of long-acting sedatives, and inactivity.

  • The study found that the effect of most individual factors taken singly is moderate, but together their impact is substantial.

  • The risk of hip fracture may be minimized by walking for exercise, avoiding long-acting sedative–hypnotic agents, reducing caffeine intake, quitting smoking, treating impaired vision, and taking measures that maintain bone density.

SUMMARY

One of every six white women will have a hip fracture during her lifetime.

This study details the major risk factors for hip fracture in older white women living in the community. These include but are not limited to impaired vision, lower body weight, cigarette smoking, caffeine intake, use of long-acting sedatives, and inactivity.


Other indicators include the inability to rise from a chair without using one’s arms, a faster resting pulse rate, poorer depth perception, and poorer low-frequency contrast sensitivity.

Additionally, the study found that a history of hyperthyroidism, and therapy with long-acting benzodiazepines or anticonvulsant drugs independently increased the risk of hip fracture. As caffeine intake increased, so did the risk of hip fracture. Women who spent four hours per day or less on their feet had twice the risk of women who spent more than four hours per day on their feet, whereas women who regularly walked for exercise had a 30 percent lower risk of hip fracture than women who did not walk regularly. Risk tended to decrease as the distance walked per day increased (relative risk, 0.9 per five blocks walked per day; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.8 to 1.0).