Osteoporosis is most commonly an older age disease but can be set up by how bones develop in the teen years. Having osteoporosis means you are susceptible to breaking bones more easily, even just by coughing or bumping into something.

Better bone health

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Osteoporosis is most commonly an older age disease but can be set up by how bones develop in the teen years. Having osteoporosis means you are susceptible to breaking bones more easily, even just by coughing or bumping into something.

Recovering from broken bones is tough, also, because they may not heal well, causing constant chronic pain that does not improve. Broken hips are really a problem because many people do not get their strength back enough to go back to living independently in their own home.

Osteoporosis is more common in women, affecting one in four women aged 65 and older. Screening is recommended for women who are 65 years and older or women who are 50 to 64 with certain risk factors.

There are risks for developing osteoporosis:

  • Getting older
  • Gender  - females are at higher risk
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Slight build
  • Certain medications, like chronic use of steroids
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Smoking

Besides the natural aging process, there are other common causes of bone loss:

  • Certain auto-immune diseases
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetes

The best strategy to prevent osteoporosis is to grow healthy dense bones to begin with and the most active bone growth is during the teen years. A healthy balanced diet with a variety of foods is most important but especially to include food sources of calcium and vitamin D. Dairy foods are a great source of both.  Make sure your kids have three dairy servings each and every day. 

There are other sources of calcium including dark greens, bok choy, canned salmon, and almonds.

Regular weight bearing exercise is very important, too for strong dense bones. Get your teens out every day for some activity like good walks and hiking. If you have osteoporosis you may be prescribed medication to strengthen your bones. And of course, no smoking for anyone at any age.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.