Adequate calcium consumption and weight-bearing physical activity build strong bones, optimize bone mass, and may reduce the risk for osteoporosis later in life. The following are tips to maintain bone health for women:
- Know the Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
This disease is characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue that affects both men and women. Several risk factors associated with the disease include being a woman, white, postmenopausal, older adults, small in body size, eating a diet low in calcium, and physical inactivity.
- Be Mindful of What You Eat
Controllable lifestyle factors, including diet, can make a difference in bone mass. Calcium and vitamin D consumption are particularly important for healthy bones. Foods high in calcium include dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, calcium-fortified foods, and nuts.
Exercise is important for bone health throughout life because it increases or preserves bone mass, and reduces the risk of falling, as is maintaining a healthy body weight. Some weight-bearing physical exercises to consider include walking/jogging/running, weight lifting, and climbing stairs.
- Quit Smoking
Smoking can reduce bone mass and increase fracture risk; heavy alcohol use has also been associated with reduced bone mass and increased fracture risk.
- Know What Medications You Are Taking
Several medications and prescriptions can affect bone health, and further assessments of bone health and other risk factors for bone diseases may be necessary if these medications are used.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Calcium and bone health. www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/calcium.html. Updated April 6, 2011. Accessed May 7, 2015
- Office of the Surgeon General (US). Bone health and osteoporosis: a report of the Surgeon General. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45513/pdf/TOC.pdf. Accessed May 7, 2015.