Objective: To assess the antifracture efficacy and safety of a nutritional intervention in institutionalised older adults replete in vitamin D but with mean intakes of 600 mg/day calcium and <1 g/kg body weight protein/day.
Design: Two year cluster randomised controlled trial.
Setting: 60 accredited residential aged care facilities in Australia housing predominantly ambulant residents.
Participants: 7195 permanent residents (4920 (68%) female; mean age 86.0 (SD 8.2) years).
Intervention: Facilities were stratified by location and organisation, with 30 facilities randomised to provide residents with additional milk, yoghurt, and cheese that contained 562 (166) mg/day calcium and 12 (6) g/day protein achieving a total intake of 1142 (353) mg calcium/day and 69 (15) g/day protein (1.1 g/kg body weight). The 30 control facilities maintained their usual menus, with residents consuming 700 (247) mg/day calcium and 58 (14) g/day protein (0.9 g/kg body weight).
Main outcome measures: Group differences in incidence of fractures, falls, and all cause mortality.
Results: Data from 27 intervention facilities and 29 control facilities were analysed. A total of 324 fractures (135 hip fractures), 4302 falls, and 1974 deaths were observed. The intervention was associated with risk reductions of 33% for all fractures (121 v 203; hazard ratio 0.67, 95% confidence interval 0.48 to 0.93; P=0.02), 46% for hip fractures (42 v 93; 0.54, 0.35 to 0.83; P=0.005), and 11% for falls (1879 v 2423; 0.89, 0.78 to 0.98; P=0.04). The risk reduction for hip fractures and falls achieved significance at five months (P=0.02) and three months (P=0.004), respectively. Mortality was unchanged (900 v 1074; hazard ratio 1.01, 0.43 to 3.08).
Conclusions: Improving calcium and protein intakes by using dairy foods is a readily accessible intervention that reduces the risk of falls and fractures commonly occurring in aged care residents.
Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12613000228785.
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