Can I reduce my risk of developing osteoporosis?
About 45% of a person's bone mass is formed during the teen years. While it is never too late to begin, adolescence and young adulthood is a good time to form the health habits that can help prevent the early onset of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis or "brittle bones" can affect both men and women, but it's almost eight times more common in women. This thinning of the bones happens naturally with age, but in some people the bones become so brittle and fragile that they easily break. About 1.3 million older people suffer fractures each year due to osteoporosis. You can't control all the risk factors, such as age and being female, but there are many others you can control. Make weight-bearing exercise such as walking, running, or dancing part of your daily activity. Make sure you are getting enough calcium. If you smoke, stop, and if you drink, drink only lightly or moderately.
Gail Carlson, MPH Ph.D., Continuing Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Wednesday, November 26, 2008