Protective effects of dietary carotenoids on risk of hip fracture in men: the Singapore Chinese Health Study

J Bone Miner Res. 2014 Feb;29(2):408-17. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2041.


Experimental and epidemiologic data suggest that carotenoids in vegetables and fruits may benefit bone health due to their antioxidant properties. The relationship between dietary total and specific carotenoids, as well as vegetables and fruits, and risk of hip fracture was examined among Chinese in Singapore. We used data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, a prospective cohort of 63,257 men and women who were of ages 45 to 74 years between 1993 and 1998. At recruitment, subjects were interviewed on lifestyle factors and medical history. Usual diet was measured using a validated food frequency questionnaire. During a mean follow-up of 9.9 years, we identified 1630 hip fracture incident cases. Among men, consumption of vegetables was associated with lower hip fracture risk. Similarly, dietary total carotenoids and specific carotenoids, α-carotene, β-carotene, and lutein/zeaxanthin were inversely associated with hip fracture risk. Compared to men in the lowest quartile of nutrient density, men in the highest quartile had statistically significant 26% to 39% risk reduction (all p for trend <0.05). When stratified by body mass index (BMI), the greatest protective effects of total vegetables and carotenoids were found in men with BMI <20 kg/m(2) (p for trend ≤0.004). There was no association between dietary carotenoids or vegetables/fruits and hip fracture risk among women. This study suggests that adequate intake of vegetables may reduce risk of osteoporotic fractures among elderly men and that the antioxidant effects of carotenoids may counteract the mechanism of osteoporosis related to leanness.


Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fruit*
  • Hip Fractures* / complications
  • Hip Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Hip Fractures* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis* / complications
  • Osteoporosis* / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis* / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Vegetables*


  • Carotenoids