Broken bones from falls and other traumatic incidents at nursing homes occur often. The cause is typically unsafe staffing levels. A new study from Australia finds that increased intake of dairy foods may prevent fractures. The study shows more dairy products to nursing home residents could reduce risk of falls and fractures. Increased dairy consumption caused a 33% lower risk of all fractures; a 46% lower risk of hip fractures; and an 11% lower risk of falls. Risk of death remained unchanged.
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are high in calcium and protein. The theory is that low levels of calcium and protein can result in weak bones that increase falls and fractures. The daily recommended levels are 1,300 milligrams (mg) calcium and 1 gram of protein from food sources for every kilogram of body weight. Dairy foods are known sources of important bone-friendly nutrients, which play a role in healthy aging to offset muscle wasting and brittle bones associated with older age.
Nutritionists, researchers, and other experts agree providing dairy products to improve intake of calcium and protein is a readily accessible intervention that reduces risk of falls and fractures commonly occurring in institutionalized older adults.