But don’t most people generally have healthy bones? The problem of poor bone health is much larger than most people realize. It is estimated that 1.5 million people suffer from bone disease-related fractures each year. Additionally, projections show one in two Americans over the age of 50 will have, or be at high risk for developing, osteoporosis by 2020. Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and loss of bone tissue, resulting in weak and fragile bones. Nearly 10 million people already have osteoporosis in the U.S.
Many think that osteoporosis and other bone-related issues are problems only affecting elderly women. However, because peak bone density is reached at approximately age 25, the damage from osteoporosis begins much earlier in life. This highlights the importance of building strong bones at an early age.
Physical activity is also critical for building and maintaining bone mass. Basic activities like walking, running, and jumping, and team sports like basketball and soccer, are great ways for kids and teens to increase bone mass. Adults can enhance bone health by doing weight-bearing activities such as hiking, stair-climbing or playing sports. It is also important for adults to do non-weight-bearing activities like yoga. In addition to physical activity and a healthy diet, other lifestyle choices promote bone health, like not smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight.
It is never too late to adopt a bone-healthy lifestyle. You only get one skeleton, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure good lifetime skeletal health.
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