Osteoporosis International

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 939–946 | Cite as

Higher sea fish intake is associated with greater bone mass and lower osteoporosis risk in postmenopausal Chinese women

  • Y.-m. Chen
  • S. C. HoEmail author
  • S. S. Lam
Original Article



We examined the cross-sectional association of the intakes of different types of fishes with bone mass and osteoporosis risk in postmenopausal Chinese women. We found that higher intake of sea fish is independently associated with greater bone mass and lower osteoporosis risk among postmenopausal Chinese women.


Fish contains many important nutrients that are beneficial on bone health, but limited data on the relationship between fish intake and bone health are available. We examined the association of the intakes of different types of fishes with bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) and osteoporosis risk.


This population-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 685 postmenopausal Chinese women. Habitual dietary intakes were assessed using food frequency questionnaire. BMD and BMC at the whole body, lumbar spine, and left hip were measured with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.


After adjusting for the potential confounders, we observed dose-dependent relations between sea fish intake and BMDs, BMCs, and osteoporosis risk; the mean BMDs were 3.2–6.8% higher, and BMCs 5.1–9.4% higher in the top quintile groups (Q5) of sea fish intake than in the bottom quintile (Q1) at the whole body and hip sites (p < 0.05); the odds ratios (95% confidence interval (CI)) for osteoporosis (T-score < −2.5) in Q5 were 0.23 (0.08–0.66), 0.12 (0.03–0.59), and 0.06 (0.01–0.44) compared with those in Q1 at the whole body, total hip, and femur neck, respectively. No independent association between consumption of freshwater fish or shellfish and bone mass was observed.


Higher intake of sea fish is independently associated with greater bone mass and lower osteoporosis risk among postmenopausal Chinese women.


Bone density Bone mineral content Fish Osteoporosis Postmenopausal women 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community and Family Medicine, and Centre of Research and Promotion of Women’s Health, School of Public HealthThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatin, N.T.People’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public HealthSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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