May is National Osteoporosis Month and an ideal time to consider assessing bone health.
Monica Nyman is a Registered Dietitian and Senior Nutrition Educator with the St. Louis Dairy Council and explains osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become fragile and break easily.
Bone health starts at an early age. Osteoporosis is often referred to as a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences and Nyman points out peak bone mass is the greatest amount of bone an individual can attain; reached in the late teens and early 20s.
Dairy Foods help build bones. Dairy’s unique package provides the right ingredients for building bones. Calcium and phosphorus fortify the skeleton system, vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, and protein supports the structure of bones. Nyman explains getting more calcium in your diet can be as easy as drinking milk with meals, adding cheese to salads, pasta, and casseroles, or preparing soups and hot cereal with milk instead of water.
Nyman points out there are easy ways to maintain bone health as you age. She encourages eating calcium-rich foods, getting enough Vitamin D, exercising, and making good lifestyle choices.
Children and adolescents today are more likely to break a bone than their parents were. Nine out of 10 girls and 6 out of 10 boys aged 12-19 do not consume adequate calcium in their diet. Nyman encourages helping your kids develop healthy habits for life is to be a good role models by drinking milk with meals, eating calcium-rich snacks, and getting plenty of weight-bearing exercise.