Bone health

Did you know that we reach our peak bone mass when we are around 30 years old?

When we get old, we worry about falling and breaking a hip. The time to “worry,” though, is when we are young. Did you know that we reach our peak bone mass when we are around 30 years old?

That’s why it’s so important for kids and young adults to get plenty of calcium, which can be found in things like milk, cheese and yogurt. We also need vitamin D to help our bodies absorb calcium. We get most of the vitamin D we need from sunshine as well as by consuming leafy green vegetables.

What doctors are noticing, however, is in the past decade many seniors have become deficient in vitamin D, meaning the calcium they might eat or get through a supplement is not being absorbed properly.

At a seminar on bone health at Norton Audubon Hospital in March 2013, Kittie George, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon with Louisville Bone and Joint Specialists, said that we are doing a poor job educating society about bone health. She says kids aren’t getting enough calcium to build those strong bones in their younger years, which will leave them at greater risk for osteoporosis when they get older. It’s like the commercial says, “Got milk?” To prevent osteoporosis we need to make sure we get enough calcium and vitamin D. In addition we need to incorporate weight-bearing exercise into our fitness routine, because that helps increase bone density too.

Because vitamin D deficiency has been in the news, more physicians are screening their older patients to make sure vitamin D levels are where they should be. But the message is for young people too. You don’t want brittle bones when you get older because you didn’t do the right things now. Make sure you get plenty of calcium and vitamin D. You only have a short period of time to build the bone mass you will need for the rest of your life.

How much calcium and vitamin D do you need? I found a great website that lists how many milligrams we need by age group. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Nutrition/


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