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Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

May 12th, 2011

Are You at Risk?

Thirty years ago, osteoporosis and the broken bones it caused were considered part of normal aging. Fortunately, today we know how to prevent osteoporosis. Eating a nutritious diet that includes adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, in addition to regular exercise, can maintain our bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D plays two important roles in bone health. Vitamin D increases calcium absorption from the food we eat. Vitamin D also will “pull” calcium from our bones if we do not get enough calcium in our diet.

Recommended daily calcium intake for adults

Calcium (mg)
Males aged 18-70 1000
Males aged 70+ 1200
Females aged 18-50 1000
Females aged 50+ 1200

Good sources of calcium are low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese along with foods with added calcium such as orange juice, cereals, and breads.

Recommended daily intake for vitamin D

Vitamin D (IU)
Children-Adults aged 70 600
Adults aged 70+ 800

Natural sources of vitamin D include some kinds of fish (e.g., salmon, herring, mackerel, and tuna). Some foods and beverages, such as breakfast cereals, margarine, orange juice, and soy beverages are commonly fortified with this nutrient. The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption in bones and to improve muscle strength.

  • Osteoporosis prevention should begin in childhood. Eighty-five percent of adult bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys. Plenty of physical activity during the preteen and teen years helps to increase bone mass and greatly reduces the risk of osteoporosis in adulthood.
  • Get regular exercise. Keep bones healthy through weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or weight lifting.
  • You may not know that you have osteoporosis until a strain, bump, or fall causes a bone to break. You’re never too young or too old to improve the health of your bones.

Get more information from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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