Dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of hip fracture in men and women

Osteoporos Int. 2012 Nov;23(11):2615-24. doi: 10.1007/s00198-012-1903-3. Epub 2012 Jan 21.


Data on the impact of polyunsaturated fatty acid intake on hip fracture risk are inconsistent. We investigated this association in 75,878 women and 46,476 men and did not find a significant role for polyunsaturated fatty acid intake in the prevention of hip fractures.

Introduction: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are important in the prevention of chronic diseases, but studies of bone health report inconsistent results. Our aim was to investigate the association between dietary PUFA intake and risk of hip fracture in two large prospective cohorts of men and women with long follow-up times and frequently updated dietary data.

Methods: The study population included 75,878 women and 46,476 men free of osteoporosis at baseline. Dietary intakes were assessed by a food frequency questionnaire at baseline and several times during the follow-up. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate relative risks (RR).

Results: During 24 years of follow-up, we identified 1,051 hip fracture cases due to low or moderate trauma among the women and 529 cases among the men. In the pooled analyses, no statistically significant associations were found between intakes of total PUFA [RR in the highest vs. lowest quintile: 0.99, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.69, 1.43; p value for trend is =0.83], total n-3 PUFA (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.75, 1.06; p value for trend is =0.26), total n-6 PUFA (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.71, 1.38; p value for trend is =0.82), n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio or individual PUFAs, and hip fracture risk. However, in women low intakes of total PUFA, total n-6 PUFA, and linoleic acid were associated with higher risk.

Conclusions: This study does not support a significant role for PUFA intake in the prevention of hip fractures, although low total PUFA, n-6 PUFA, or linoleic acid intakes may increase the risk in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / administration & dosage
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hip Fractures / epidemiology
  • Hip Fractures / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Seafood / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Linoleic Acid