Effects of food groups and dietary nutrients on bone loss in elderly Chinese population



To examine the effects of food groups and dietary nutrients on bone loss in elderly Chinese population.


Prospective cohort study. Setting: A longitudinal study started at 2001 in Hong Kong.


1225 Chinese men and 992 women aged 65 years and over in the community.


Daily intake of food groups and dietary nutrients at baseline was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire. Nutrient intake was adjusted for energy intake by residual method. Linear regression was used to examine the association of BMD change and food group or energy-adjusted nutrient intake with adjustment for demographic, anthropometric, lifestyle factors, and daily energy intake (for food group only).


Higher fish intake was associated with smaller bone loss in hip (B=−0.611, p=0.004) and femoral neck (B=−0.724, p=0.040) in men. None of the food groups were associated with bone loss in both measured sites in women. For men, lower intake of protein (B=−0.012, p=0.003), phosphorus (B=−0.0008, p=0.001), sodium (B=−0.0002, p=0.023) and isoflavone (B=−1.084, p=0.030) was associated with greater BMD loss in hip, whereas lower intake of protein (B=−0.018, p=0.006) and sodium (B=−0.0004, p=0.018) was associated with greater BMD loss in femoral neck. However, these significant associations disappeared after further adjustment for energy-adjusted calcium and vitamin D intakes. None of the nutrients were associated with BMD loss in both measured sites in women.


Greater fish intake may help to reduce bone loss in this sample of elderly Chinese men. The significant association between various nutrients and bone loss in elderly Chinese men was likely due to the influence of dietary calcium and vitamin D intakes. The role of food groups and dietary nutrients on bone health in this sample of elderly Chinese women seems to be minimal.

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Correspondence to Ruth Chan.

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Chan, R., Woo, J. & Leung, J. Effects of food groups and dietary nutrients on bone loss in elderly Chinese population. J Nutr Health Aging 15, 287–294 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-010-0279-3

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Key words

  • Fish
  • food
  • diet
  • bone mineral density
  • elderly