Objective: Findings regarding alcohol consumption and bone mineral density (BMD) in elderly women have been inconsistent. The objective of the present study was to explore the association of alcohol intake with BMD in elderly women.
Design: This cohort study included women from the population-based Kuopio Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention - Fracture Prevention Study (OSTPRE-FPS). Alcohol intake and potential confounders were assessed at baseline and after 3 years of follow-up using a lifestyle questionnaire. In addition, an FFQ was distributed in the third year to measure dietary intake, including alcohol. Women underwent BMD measurements at the femoral neck and lumbar spine at baseline and after 3 years of follow-up.
Setting: Kuopio Province, Finland.
Subjects: Three hundred elderly women (mean age 67·8 years) who provided both BMD measurements and FFQ data.
Results: Alcohol consumption estimated from the FFQ and lifestyle questionnaire was significantly associated with BMD at both measurement sites after adjustment for potential confounders, including lifestyle and dietary factors (P < 0·05). Using the FFQ, women drinking >3 alcoholic drinks/week had significantly higher BMD than abstainers, 12·0 % at the femoral neck and 9·2 % at the lumbar spine. Results based on the lifestyle questionnaire showed higher BMD values for all alcohol-consuming women at the femoral neck and for women drinking 1-3 alcoholic beverages/week at the lumbar spine, compared with non-users.
Conclusions: The results from OSTPRE-FPS suggest that low to moderate alcohol intake may exert protective effects on bone health in elderly women.