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Is dietary counselling effective in increasing dietary calcium, protein and energy intake in patients with osteoporotic fractures? A randomized controlled clinical trial

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To determine the feasibility of increasing the calcium, protein and calorie intake of osteoporotic fracture patients by repeated dietary counselling delivered by a dietitian, a randomized controlled trial was conducted. Among 189 patients presenting with osteoporotic fractures to an Orthopaedics and Traumatology Department of a large regional hospital, 98 patients were randomized to the intervention group and 91 were randomized to the control group (with usual care). Intervention group received three sessions of dietary counselling with tailored made recommendations over a period of 4 months, while the control group only received dietary assessment and pamphlets on the prevention of osteoporosis. Almost all subjects in both intervention and control groups had calcium intake below the recommended level of 1000 mg at baseline. Half and 60% of subjects in both groups had total energy and protein intake below recommended levels respectively. The mean weights of control and intervention groups at baseline were 51.5 and 50.9 kg respectively, while the body mass index (BMI) were 22.6 (kg m−2) and 22.6 (kg m−2) respectively. After dietary intervention, significant increase of intake was seen in calcium intake (P = 0.0095 by t-test) in the intervention group. No significant increase was seen in protein or calorie intake. No significant change was observed in the body weight or BMI although there was a positive trend in the intervention group for all these parameters. We concluded that there was general malnutrition in Chinese elderly who presented with osteoporotic fractures. Dietary calcium could be increased by repeated professional dietary counselling. Future studies with longer duration and more objective clinical outcomes will be helpful to further demonstrate the long-term effects of dietary intervention on osteoporosis and other chronic diseases.
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Keywords: Chinese; calcium intake; dietary intervention; fracture; protein intake

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Community and Family Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 2: Jockey Club Centre for Osteoporosis Care and Control, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Publication date: 2004-08-01

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