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Building Strong Bones for a Strong Future

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Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass density and structural deterioration of bone tissue. This leads to bone fragility and increased risk of fracture.

Major causes are low Calcium intake, Vitamin D deficiency, inadequate physical activity, high caffeine intake, alcohol (3+ drinks/day), smoking (even second-hand!), high salt intake, immobilization, thinness, and genetic factors.

Prevention starts now! During childhood and adolescence, your bones build up density and store up Calcium at its fastest rate. Furthermore, up to 90 percent of peak bone mass, the maximum bone density a person can attain, is reached by age 18 in girls and by age 20 in boys. This means than your youth is the best time to invest in your bone health. In order to prevent Osteoporosis when you are older, it is important that you reach peak bone mass when you are young. How do you do this? Drink more milk and less soda, exercise regularly, eat plenty of Calcium rich foods (foods such as: milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, eggs, & salmon) or take a Calcium + Vitamin D supplement, and lower your caffeine intake.

Daily recommendations from the Food and Nutrition Board for 14-18 year olds: 1300mg Calcium and 600 IUs of Vitamin D

Could soda be a culprit? Multiple studies have shown that people who regularly drink dark sodas may be at a greater risk of bone loss related to high concentrations of Phosphate. Each 12 ounce can of Cola contains around 500mg of phosphorus. Because Calcium and Phosphate are inversely related, an increase in phosphorus may mean a decrease in blood Calcium. When there is more Phosphorus than Calcium in the bloodstream, your Parathyroid Hormone will take Calcium that was stored in the bones. This is why there is much speculation about the relationship between people who drink dark sodas regularly and Osteoporosis. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health reported that active teenage girls who drink dark sodas had a fracture risk approximately 5 times higher than girls who didn’t drink dark sodas, even if those other girls drank clear sodas (which coincidentally only contain minimal amounts of Phosphorus)… Drink more milk and less soda!

Are you kidding me???

-In serious cases, simple actions even as small as a sneeze have been known to cause a fracture.

-Did you know that a woman’s risk of breaking a bone due to Osteoporosis is equal to her risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer combined?

-Experts predict that by 2025, costs associated with Osteoporosis treatment and management will rise to $25.3 billion dollars.

-In the US today, an estimated 10 million individuals have the disease!

-National nutrition surveys have shown that most women and young girls consume less than 50% the amount of Calcium recommended to grow and maintain healthy bones.

Special thanks to Amy Jennings for this great information. Amy is a member of our Fracture Committee team and is passionate about prevention. Amy Jennings