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Although there are no symptoms for this disease with fatal outcomes, osteoporosis is preventable and treatable.

Quite simply, a sensible diet that is rich in daily calcium and vitamin D, plus regular weight-bearing exercise, can help prevent the onset of Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is treated in adults ... but prevented in kids

It may seem obvious, but the rapid growth of bones in babies and in the early teens is critical for strong bones when you are old. Parents are responsible for making sure their kids don’t turn into adults with osteoporosis.

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Young girls are particularly a concern. While energetic exercise in well-nourished girls and women who maintain their periods does not appear to be a problem, be aware of eating disorders and/or excessive exercise that can cause menstrual periods to skip or stop. If this happens, there is a reduction in estrogen levels that will limit bone growth. 

IMPORTANT! Parents need to stop kids from drinking sodas and other soft drinks. The same goes for parents because kids will pick up parent’s habits. Not only do studies show that soft drinks are bad for bones and teeth, some kids drink less milk than they should because they drink more soft drinks – this is a problem because sodas don’t have any calcium or vitamin D … or any other healthy nutrients!



Inadequate calcium can contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Nutrition surveys have shown that many women and young girls eat and drink less than half the amount of calcium recommended to grow and maintain healthy bones.

Depending on your age, recommended calcium intake ranges between 1,000 and 1,500 mg a day (one serving of dairy product is equivalent to about 300 mg). You should also have plenty of milk, cheese and yogurt. If you have can’t get enough calcium from your diet, or you have other health issues that keep you from dairy products, then speak with a doctor about taking calcium supplements.

Remember, there are many calcium-fortified drinks and foods to help boost your calcium levels.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium from foods or supplements. Vitamin D comes naturally from two sources, the sun and certain foods. However, sunscreens, window glass, clothing, etc., can prevent vitamin D from reaching your skin and creating the vitamin D. Also, darker pigmented skin actually acts as a natural sunscreen, so many Latinos and other ethnic groups are at higher risk for low vitamin D levels.

The recommendation is for 400 units of vitamin D daily for adults up to age 70, and 600 units for those over age 70. In fact, many doctors and bone researchers believe that many individuals may need more, but it is best to check with a doctor before taking more than 800 units daily of supplemental vitamin D.

Also, some foods are fortified with vitamin D: All types of milk sold in the U.S. are required to contain 100 units of vitamin D per cup, and some other foods, such as dairy products and cereals, are fortified with vitamin D. Although egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver naturally contain vitamin D, most ordinary diets do not contain enough of these to provide sufficient vitamin D.

For more information about your Recommended Daily Intake of vitamin D, refer to the NIH-Office of Dietary Supplements.



Exercise is important for good bone health. If you exercise regularly in childhood and adolescence, you are more likely to reach your peak bone density than those who are inactive. Depending on your degree of physical fitness, the best exercise for your bones is weight-bearing exercise such as walking, dancing, jogging, stair-climbing, racquet sports and hiking. These activities increase muscle tone and bone strength, both helping to decreasing your chance of falls. There is no such thing as being “too old” or “too frail” to do engage in some type of physical activity. Always be sure to check with a doctor when beginning any exercise program.


Stop Smoking

Add bad for your bones to the "Harmful effects of smoking" list. Smoking prevents the bone-protective effects of the body’s own estrogen and also appears to have direct harmful effects on the skeleton. Therefore, stopping smoking can help reverse many of the harmful effects of having been a smoker. Many people quit smoking after several failed attempts, so don't give up!


Reduce (Or Stop) Drinking Alcoholic Beverages

Too much alcohol has many harmful effects, including increased bone loss and risk of fracture. If you drink alcohol on a daily basis – such as a glass with dinner – remember that doctor recommendations are not to have more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.  


All of the information provided by CHOF in any manner, including through this Web site, is intended solely for general information and should NOT be relied upon for any particular diagnosis treatment, or care. Decisions relating to the prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis should be made only after discussing the risks and benefits with your health care provider, taking into account your personal medical history, your current situation and your future health risks and concerns. CHOF strongly encourages patients and their families to consult with qualified medical professionals for treatment advice on individual cases.

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