Research Article

Physical activity, muscle strength, and calcium intake in fracture of the proximal femur in Britain.

BMJ 1988; 297 doi: (Published 03 December 1988) Cite this as: BMJ 1988;297:1443
  1. C. Cooper,
  2. D. J. Barker,
  3. C. Wickham
  1. MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital.


    Regular exercise and high calcium intake possibly help to preserve bone mass. Little is known, however, about their role in preventing hip fracture. The physical activity and calcium intake of 300 elderly men and women with hip fractures were compared with those of 600 controls matched for age and sex. In both sexes increased daily activity, including standing, walking, climbing stairs, carrying, housework, and gardening protected against fracture. This was independent of other known risk factors, including body mass, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption. Strength of grip correlated with activity and was inversely related to the risk of fracture. Calcium intake was not related to the risk of fracture in women. Men with daily calcium intakes above 1g had lower risks. These findings point to the importance of elderly people in Britain maintaining physical activity in their day to day lives.