Older women who drink more than 24 ounces of soft drinks each day are more likely to suffer a hip fracture, according to an analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. 

The researchers assessed fracture, bone mineral density and soda consumption in more than 70,000 postmenopausal women. Participants were followed for a mean period of about 12 years. 

High soda consumption – at least 14 12-ounce drinks a week – was found to be associated with a modest increased risk of incident hip fracture. The association was statistically significant for caffeine-free sodas, but not for caffeinated sodas, the researchers reported. However, a sensitivity analysis using adjudicated hip fractures showed significant associations for all soda exposures in the highest intake groups.

No associations were observed among women consuming less than the highest amount for any type of soda. There was also no significant link between soda consumption and hip or spine bone density scores.

“[O]ur results showed no significant risks if the intake was less than 14 servings a week, suggesting a threshold effect rather than a dose-response relationship,” the authors wrote.

The Women’s Health Initiative is a national health study begun in 1993 that is focused on strategies for preventing common diseases and fractures in postmenopausal women.

The soft drink analysis was published in the journal Menopause.