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Osteoporosis Awareness Week

Media release awareness – 1
20 October 2008

Dairy food, sunlight &exercise prescribed for healthy bones

No matter what your age, your body needs a decent daily dose of calcium, some sunlight and a bit of exercise.

That’s the key message for New Zealanders as Osteoporosis Week gets underway on Monday October 20.

Osteoporosis is the progressive loss of bone density, making bones lace-like and brittle. People with osteoporosis break bones easily – fractures can occur with only a slight knock or fall.

Foods rich in calcium are essential for developing and maintaining strong bones. But calcium cannot do its job without adequate Vitamin D – and Vitamin D is mainly created through the action of sunlight on the skin.

On top of that, as a nation we’re not getting enough exercise.

According to Osteoporosis New Zealand, it’s never too early to focus on the need for
bone health.

“Here in New Zealand more than half of women and nearly one third of men older than 60 will suffer a fracture because of osteoporosis,” says Osteoporosis New Zealand chair Claire Mackintosh.

“However, the important point is that if you want to have strong bones when you’re older, you need to start looking after them now – no matter what your age.”

In a weight-conscious society, and with women the main victims of osteoporosis, many are avoiding dairy products, believing them to be high in fat – an ill-informed choice which could cost them dearly in later life.

Not only are women dicing with a future of brittle bones, but their children could follow suit. Instilling healthy eating habits from an early age is the key to making sure this painful, crippling disease becomes less common.

Good nutrition and exercise during childhood and adolescence are vitally important, because that’s when bones are built Osteoporosis New Zealand says. If we look after the bones of our children and young people then osteoporosis will become less of a problem.


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