Peer Reviewed

Bone fractures

Increased Dairy Consumption Reduces Risk of Falls, Fractures in Older Adults

For older adults living in residential care, diets with higher calcium intake through dairy consumption may reduce the risk of falls and fractures, according to the results of a recent study.

The researchers conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial that included 7195 permanent residents of aged care facilities in Australia. Of the total facilities, 27 facilities were randomly assigned to give the residents additional milk, yogurt, and cheese products, while 29 facilities acted as the control group.

After the addition of these dairy products, individuals in the intervention facilities were to consume a total of 1142 mg/d of calcium and 69 g/d of protein (1.1 g/kg of body weight). Those in the control group continued with their current menus, for a consumption of 700 mg/d of calcium and 58 g/d of protein (0.9 g/kg of body weight).

A total of 324 fractures—of which 135 were hip fractures—4302 falls, and 1974 deaths were recorded from both groups of facilities.

The results indicated that in individuals in the intervention group, there was a 33% risk reduction for all fractures (121 vs 203). Additionally, a 46% risk reduction was observed for hip fractures (42 vs 93) with significance at 5 months. There was an 11% risk reduction for falls (1879 vs 2423) with significance at 3 months. There was no observed change in mortality between the groups (900 vs 1074).

“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,” the researchers concluded.


—Leigh Precopio



Iuliano S, Poon S, Robbins J, et al. Effect of dietary sources of calcium and protein on hip fractures and falls in older adults in residential care: cluster randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2021;375:n2364.