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Open AccessArticle

A Mediterranean Diet Is Positively Associated with Bone and Muscle Health in a Non-Mediterranean Region in 25,450 Men and Women from EPIC-Norfolk

Norwich Medical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7UQ, UK
Strangeways Research Laboratory, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Worts Causeway, Cambridge CB1 8RN, UK
NIHR BRC Diet, Anthropometry and Physical Activity Group, MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0SL, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 1154;
Received: 23 March 2020 / Revised: 15 April 2020 / Accepted: 17 April 2020 / Published: 21 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diet, Lifestyle and Healthy Ageing)
Research on Mediterranean diet (MD) adherence and musculoskeletal health is limited. The current study determined if adherence to the alternative MD score (aMED) and MD score (MDS), quantified from 7-d food diaries, was associated with fracture incidence, bone density (calcaneal broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA)) and fat free mass (expressed over BMI (FFMBMI) using bioelectrical impedance) in 25,450 men and women recruited to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer study in Norfolk, UK. During 17.4 years of follow up (443,178 total person years) 2195 incident fractures occurred. Higher aMED adherence was associated with 23% reduced total (Q5–Q1 HR 0.77; 95% CI 0.67, 0.88; p-trend < 0.01) and 21% reduced hip (Q5–Q1 HR 0.79; 95% CI 0.65, 0.96; p-trend = 0.01) fracture incidence, and significantly higher BUA (Q5–Q1 1.0 dB/MHz 95% CI 0.2, 1.9; p-trend < 0.01) and FFMBMI (Q5–Q1 0.05 kg/(kg/m2) 95% CI 0.04, 0.06; p-trend < 0.01), comparing extreme adherence quintiles. Higher MDS was also associated with reduced total fractures (Q5–Q1 HR 0.83; 95% CI 0.71, 0.96; p-trend = 0.03) and significantly higher BUA (Q5–Q1 1.4 dB/MHz 95% CI 0.5, 2.3; p-trend < 0.01) and FFMBMI (Q5–Q1 0.03 kg/(kg/m2) 95% CI 0.01, 0.04; p-trend < 0.01). This evidence supports the need to develop interventions to enhance MD adherence, particularly in women, where evidence for associations was stronger. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mediterranean diet; fracture; muscle Mediterranean diet; fracture; muscle
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Jennings, A.; Mulligan, A.A.; Khaw, K.-T.; Luben, R.N.; Welch, A.A. A Mediterranean Diet Is Positively Associated with Bone and Muscle Health in a Non-Mediterranean Region in 25,450 Men and Women from EPIC-Norfolk. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1154.

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