This study of 9605 community-dwelling residents supports that vitamin D and calcium supplementation may prevent osteoporotic fractures in elderly in a northern European region known to be deficient in vitamin D, especially during winter periods.
Introduction: We evaluated the effect of two programs for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures leading to acute hospital admission in a population of elderly community-dwelling residents.
Materials and methods: This was a factorial, cluster-randomized, pragmatic, intervention study. We included 9605 community-dwelling residents aged 66+ years. We offered a prevention program of a daily supplement of 1000 mg of elemental calcium as calcium carbonate and 400 IU (10 microg) of vitamin D3 to a total of 4957 participants. Another program with evaluation and suggestions for the improvement of the domestic environment was offered to a total of 5063 participants. Both programs included revision of the resident's current pharmaceutical treatment. We achieved information on osteoporotic fractures in the study population from the Danish Hospital Registration Database. We defined osteoporotic fractures as low energy fractures of the proximal humerus, distal forearm, vertebral column, pelvis, cervical femur, and intertrochanteric femur.
Results: Active participation was 50.3% in the Calcium and Vitamin D Program and 46.4% in the Environmental and Health Program. We observed a 16% reduction in fracture incidence rate (relative risk [RR], 0.84; CI, 0.72-0.98; p < 0.025) among male and female residents offered the Calcium and Vitamin D Program (intention-to-prevent analysis).
Conclusions: This study supports that vitamin D and calcium supplementation may prevent osteoporotic fractures in community-dwelling elderly people in a northern European region known to be deficient in vitamin D, especially during winter periods.