Osteoporosis is a major public health problem affecting millions of people worldwide. Caucasian and Asian postmenopausal women are especially affected by this condition. Several nutrients are believed to have a beneficial effect on bone tissue. The specific dietary characteristics of a vegetarian diet that may be of benefit to bone tissue include an intake of plant vs animal protein, high intake of potassium and isoflavones, and relatively low intake of phosphorus. In this review of 9 cross-sectional and 1 longitudinal study, little statistical significance between bone density and bone content was found between vegetarians and omnivores.
From the National Food Service Management Institute, Applied Research Division, Box 10077, University of Southern Mississipi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi 39406.