health

How to have healthy bones

Friday, August 5, 2005

By Annette Campbell

When it comes to keeping ourselves healthy, sometimes we don't think that much about our bones.

So to coincide with National Healthy Bones Week (August 7-13), Judy Stenmark — the CEO of Osteoporosis Australia — shares with us her top tips for bone health.
"It's important to have healthy bones, to help avoid things like fractures and osteoporosis — when bones become fragile and brittle and break easily," she explains.


"We reach our peak bone mass (how strong our bones are going to be), around the age of 20, so there's a great window of opportunity for kids and teens to maximise their peak bone mass by building strong bones in childhood.

"And it's crucial to then maintain bone strength through to menopause and beyond."

Judy says the key ingredients in terms of building bones and keeping them strong are:

Calcium
Great sources are all dairy foods, including low-fat products. While dairy is a quick and easy source of calcium, there are also other options including fortified foods and drinks.

Exercise
Bones need the stress of our body's weight through them, to grow and remain strong. So weight-bearing exercise is crucial. This includes activities such as walking, skipping, jogging, netball, etc. It's also important to include weight-training, as there is a direct correlation between muscle mass and bone strength.

Sex hormones (oestrogen and testosterone)
Women need oestrogen in their body for bones to take-up calcium. So anything that interferes with our oestrogen levels (such as having been a young, anorexic teenager; or an elite athlete whose menstruation ceased) means we're at greater risk of osteoporosis. Lower testosterone levels are also a risk factor for men.

Vitamin D
The presence of vitamin D assists our bones in absorbing calcium. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight (there's not as much in foods and it's not as well absorbed). This doesn't mean sunbaking ... it's important to stay sun-safe. But about 6-15 minutes of incidental sunlight, four or six times a week, supplies an adequate dose.

National Healthy Bones Week is August 7-13.
This year the theme is "Make It Milk", encouraging primary school-aged children to enjoy milk as a quick and easy source of calcium and other nutrients.
For more information visit: www.healthybones.com.au
Or contact Osteoporosis Australia: www.osteoporosis.org.au; 1800 242 141.

Picture posed by model.

Related Stories
Osteoporosis
Arthritis
Starlight Children's Foundation
Ask our experts about your medical symptoms at ninemsn health
Rate this Poor x x x x x Great
Current user rating by 1 users: x x x x x
comments powered by Disqus

VIDEOS

PHOTOS

ARTICLES

Today's top 5

Brad and Ange’s balcony blowout Three months after their fairytale wedding in France, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were witnessed having a blazing argument on their Sydney hotel balcony. Princess Mary and Fred: the marriage that almost didn’t make it Mary was the Aussie girl living the fairytale dream of marrying a handsome prince, but she came close to giving it all up and a new telemovie is set to expose the reasons why. Monarchy bombshell: Duchess Catherine to be Queen! It’s the British royal shake-up that will go down in history, as the royals put together top-secret plans to crown Duchess as the new Queen, sooner rather than later. Ian Thorpe breaks his silence on Ricky Martin relationship rumours Ian Thorpe has broken his silence on his relationship with singer Ricky Martin. Turia Pitt: I’m finally getting my new nose! Three years after her horrific ordeal, Turia Pitt is inching closer to her old self as she prepares for one last major operation – and it’s the one she’s been most looking forward to.
Who wore it best?
One outfit, two celebrities. Who wore it best? You decide!

Your say

Most commented