Kootenai People
Lifelong Bone Health
Mar 28, 2007, 14:00

By: Barbara Lund
Freelance Writer
Area I Agency on Aging,
North Idaho

That’s right….lifelong bone health starts at age 9.

Boy, am I in trouble. Recently, I had my regular, two-year bone density test. The finding: severe osteoporosis…an unnerving bit of news. I went immediately to the Internet to see if I could find some encouraging news somewhere, out there.

I was stunned to learn that protecting our bones should start at age nine. This is such very important information - certainly of concern to everyone - I am sharing it here for my readers, of all ages:


Between the ages of 9 and 18: We’re to put 1300 mg of calcium in our “bone bank” every day by drinking three, 8 ounce glasses of milk and eating calcium rich foods. If you are lactose intolerant, which means you have trouble digesting milk, you can select lactose-free dairy products, which are usually available in the same dairy case. Some of these products have added calcium, but if you are not getting enough calcium from food, consider taking a calcium supplement.

Between ages of 19 – 35: Our bones reach their peak strength. During these years we’re advised to take a minimum 1000 mg of calcium and 400-800 IU of Vitamin D daily to help prevent developing osteoporosis. It’s also advised that we engage in walking, jogging or team sports to keep peak bone density.
NOTE: Don’t overlook the importance of the daily Vitamin D with your Calcium. Vitamin D helps calcium enter your bloodstream so it can get to your bones.

Between the ages 35-50: We begin to lose bone - it is extremely important to continue the regimen of 1000mg of calcium and 400-800 IU of Vitamin D daily, and keep on doing active daily exercising to maintain our bone density.

50+ years Old: Women who have gone through menopause lose bone at a rate of 1% to 6% per year. At this time women should consult their healthcare professional about a risk assessment and the need for a bone density test. National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends, for this age group, daily Calcium intake of 1200 mg and 400-800 IU of Vitamin D. Further recommendation is to remain physically active: walking, jogging and resistance training for 30 minutes, 4 times per week to keep bones strong.


The more “yes” answers to the following questions, the greater your
risk for developing osteoporosis:

  • Do you have a small, thin frame?

  • Are you Asian or Caucasian?

  • Have you or a family member broken a bone as an adult?

  • Have you had early menopause?

  • Have you been taking high doses of thyroid medication or high doses of cortisone-like drugs for more than three months?

  • Is your diet low in sources of calcium?

  • Are you physically inactive?

  • Do you smoke or drink alcohol in excess?

Osteoporosis, a disease that causes the bones to become porous and fragile and more likely to fracture, is a major public health threat today. According to the NOF, this disease affects 44 million Americans and each year it leads to over 300 fractures, usually in those over age 65. Sometimes a fracture can occur simply by coughing.

1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men, age 50 or older, will sustain a fracture related to osteoporosis!

NOF’s Recommended Five Steps To Bone Health:

  1. Take the daily amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D as recommended by your healthcare professional.

  2. Perform regular, weight bearing exercises approved by your doctor.

  3. Refrain from smoking and excessive use of alcohol.

  4. Talk to your doctor about your bone health and risks for osteoporosis.

  5. When appropriate, have a bone density test and take medication for prevention and treatment as recommended by your doctor.

For more information on Osteoporosis, go online to get your copy of the Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis: Or, call (866) 718-2663. Also, check out the web page for the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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