May is National Osteoporosis Month and a good time to review the essentials of good bone health. Taking the right steps as part of everyday life can play an important role in building strong bones and preventing or managing osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation offers these 3 fundamentals.
A Calcium-Rich Diet — The NOF recommends including one daily “excellent” source of calcium, such as milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, salmon or calcium-fortified products, OR 2 “good” sources (low/reduced fat varieties of cheeses or yogurt, shrimp or crab, beans, greens such as kale, okra and mustard greens) plus 2-3 other bone-healthy ingredients. For a full list of food that meet these classifications, visit this Bone Healthy Ingredients document.
A Proper Amount of Vitamin D — Did you know that most children, even active milk-drinkers, don’t get enough Vitamin D in their daily diets? Vitamin D helps bodies to better absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are bone health essentials, and reduces the likelihood of bone fractures and rickets. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 international units of vitamin D per day in the first year of life and at least 600 units per day for older children and adolescents. The best way to accomplish this for any child not consuming 32 ounces of milk per day is with a vitamin D supplement.
An Active Lifestyle — Regardless of age, the more physically engaged a person is, the better their bone health is likely to be. Bone-strengthening (weight-bearing) activities help to build and tone muscles, while improving bone mass. Examples of these types of activities include aerobic exercises, running, jumping rope, resistance exercises and sports such as basketball, tennis and volleyball. The HealthyChildren.org website offers a full list of physical activities that can improve bone health for people of all ages.