How Purdue can help…
Stand strong on good bone health
Strong bones provide structure to your body: they protect your organs, hold muscles in place and store calcium. That’s why it is important that you do weight-bearing exercise, eat a diet with lots of calcium and Vitamin D, and don’t smoke. These steps will help keep bones strong and may reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
What’s the deal with bone mass?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and can break more easily – especially if an individual suffers a fall. Sometimes bones grow so weak that they may cause someone to fall. Typical areas affected are in the wrist, hip and spine.
Be aware: If you are an older Caucasian female who does not exercise and has a diet low in calcium, your risk of osteoporosis is increased. Chronic use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, can increase the risk for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis screening is recommended for women age 65 and older. Women at increased risk should begin screening at age 60. Purdue medical plans cover the screenings at 100 percent when you use a network provider.
Why is calcium important?
Your body needs calcium for healthy bones and teeth, and proper function of your heart, muscles and nerves. Your body cannot produce its own calcium – it must be absorbed through food. Most people do not get enough calcium through diet alone: you need to eat three to four servings a day of foods high in calcium to get the recommended daily amount.
The Institute of Medicine recommends the following daily allowance of calcium:
The best source of calcium is milk fortified with vitamin D. Four glasses a day provide about 1,200 mg of calcium.
Other good sources of calcium include:
Vitamin D is also important for healthy bone development, and it helps your body to absorb calcium. (That’s why milk is fortified with vitamin D.) It’s best to take your vitamin D at the same time as your calcium.
Most Americans get only half the calcium they need from their diet and need to take a calcium supplement. Check with your doctor about calcium supplements and ask about the best kind to take. Many calcium supplements also include vitamin D, so check the labels.
Regular exercise helps build strong bones and is especially important early in life when you’re building peak bone mass.
Encourage your family to be active in sports of some kind. Good weight-bearing exercises include walking, jogging or running, strength training, playing tennis, jumping rope, dancing, and team sports such as soccer, basketball and field hockey.
How much activity?
Adults: At least 30 minutes of physical activity four to five days a week
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