Although studies in white populations have reported the beneficial effects of intakes of fruit and vegetables (F&V) on bone mass, limited data are available in Asians, especially among the elderly population. We examined the association of F&V intakes and bone mineral status in Chinese elderly adults and explored the potential mechanisms.
The study was a population-based cross-sectional study among 4000 Hong Kong Chinese men and women aged 65 years and older.
Habitual F&V intakes were ascertained from a validated food frequency questionnaire. Bone mineral measurements of the whole body, hip, lumber spine, and femoral neck were made by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Information on demographic, health, and lifestyles factors was obtained by standardized questionnaire. Relations between F&V intakes and bone mass at various sites were assessed by regression models.
Whole-body and femoral neck bone mineral density and content were significantly and positively associated with fruit intake in both men and women, even when adjustment for a range of potential confounders was made. A daily increase of 100 g/kcal total fruit intake was associated with 4.5% and 6.4% increase of BMD at whole body, and 3.9% and 4.8% increase at the femoral neck in men and women, respectively. No significant association was found between vegetable intake and bone mass. The adjustment for vitamin C intake, but not dietary acid load, attenuated the association between fruit intake and bone mass.
Greater fruit intake was independently associated with better bone mineral status among Chinese elderly men and women. The association is probably modified by dietary vitamin C.