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Region 7 Public Health Office


running skeletonWhat is Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bone to become thinner and more likely to break. Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 25 million Americans. Each year 1.5 million bone fractures occur, most often of the hip, wrist and spine. While bone loss is a natural part of the aging process, Osteoporosis is preventable and treatable.

Who is at Greatest Risk of Developing Osteoporosis?

  • Sex - Women are more likely to develop Osteoporosis than men
  • Age - The longer you live the greater your risk
  • Genes - A family history of fracture increases risk
  • Race - Caucasian and Asian women are at higher risk
  • Body - Low body weight and small-boned frame increase risk
  • Lifestyle - Low calcium, little exercise, smoking and alcohol increase risk

What Can I Do To Help Prevent Osteoporosis?

  • Get enough Calcium and Vitamin D, the building blocks of bone.
  • Exercise regularly. Include activities such as walking, aerobics, and running.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Talk to your health care provider if you have a history of broken bones, family history of osteoporosis or no longer have the protective benefits of estrogen.

How Do I Get Enough Calcium and Vitamin D?

  • Eat foods naturally rich in Calcium such as milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, broccoli, greens, canned fish, figs, almonds, sunflower seeds, beans, soy products, foods made with dairy such as pudding, fortified orange juice, calcium-enriched breads, crackers, cereals and waffles
  • Vitamin D helps bone use calcium. Get Vitamin D from vitamin supplements, sunlight, liver, and egg yolk.

Milk and milk products are the richest source of Calcium and Vitamin D, yet 9 out of 10 women and 7 out of 10 men do not meet their daily Calcium need. This trend towards poor Calcium intake starts in the teenage years when the body is approaching peak bone mass.


Daily Requirement
Children, 1-3 years old 500 mg
Children, 4-8 years old 800 mg
Preteens and teens 1300 mg
Adults, 19-50 years old 1000 mg
Adults, 50+ 1200 mg
Pregnant and Nursing
Up to 18 years old
19 to 50 years old

1300 mg
1000 mg

Which Activities Help Build Strong Bones?
Activities that put pressure on bones help prevent Osteoporosis. Some examples of weight-bearing exercise are: Walking, running, hiking, stair climbing, dancing, aerobics, and water exercises.

For optimal benefit do some form of weight-bearing exercise for a minimum of 20-30 minutes, at least 3 times a week. Doing conditioning exercises to strenghten the muscles that support the skeletal system, such as weight-lifting are also beneficial.

Check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program or modification of your diet.