Fish consumption, bone mineral density, and risk of hip fracture among older adults: The cardiovascular health study

Jyrki K. Virtanen, Dariush Mozaffarian, Jane A. Cauley, Kenneth J. Mukamal, John A Robbins, David S. Siscovick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may be beneficial for bone health, but few studies have investigated the association with fish consumption. Our aim was to study associations of fish and EPA+DHA consumption with bone mineral density (BMD) and hip fracture risk and determine whether high linoleic acid (LA) intake, the major dietary n-6 PUFA, modifies the associations. The study population consisted of 5045 participants aged 65 years and older from the Cardiovascular Health Study. Data on BMD were available for 1305 participants. Food-frequency questionnaire was used to assess dietary intake, and hip fracture incidence was assessed prospectively by review of hospitalization records. After multivariable adjustment, femoral neck BMD was 0.01 g/cm2 lower in the highest versus lowest tuna/other-fish intake category (p=.05 for trend). EPA+DHA intake (higher versus lower median of 0.32 g/day) was associated with lower femoral neck BMD (0.66 versus 0.71 g/cm2, p<.001) among those with LA intake greater than the median 12.1 g/day (p=.03 for interaction). No significant associations were found with total-hip BMD. During mean follow-up of 11.1 years, 505 hip fractures occurred. Fish or EPA+DHA consumption was not significantly associated with fracture incidence [hazard ratio (HR) for extreme categories: HR=1.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83-1.84 for tuna/other fish; HR=1.16, 95% CI 0.91-1.49 for fried fish; and HR=0.98, 95% CI 0.71-1.36 for EPA+DHA]. High LA intake did not modify these associations. In this large prospective cohort of older adults, fish consumption was associated with very small differences in BMD and had no association with hip fracture risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1972-1979
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Bone mineral density
  • Fatty acids
  • Fish
  • Hip fracture
  • Population studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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