Steps for Healthy Living and the Prevention of Osteoporosis

Taking steps for healthy living (and the prevention of osteoporosis) can help you stay independent for as long as possible. Ideas for healthy living include staying active, keeping your home safe by reducing your risk for falls, and making sure you get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet.

Overview of Healthy Living

No matter how old you are, it is never too late to start. Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence is the best defense against getting osteoporosis later. Building strong bones at a young age will lessen the effects of the natural bone loss that starts around age 30. As you get older, your bones don't make new bone quickly enough to keep up with the bone loss. And after menopause, bone loss increases more quickly. But there are steps you can take to stop your bones from becoming weak and brittle. These steps include:
  • Getting enough calcium
  • Getting enough vitamin D
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising
  • Not smoking
  • Drinking in moderation or not at all
  • Making your home safe
  • Taking certain medications.

Healthy Living: Calcium

Bones are made of calcium. The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to get enough calcium in your diet. You need enough calcium each day for strong bones throughout life. You can get it through foods and/or calcium pills, which you can get at the drugstore. Talk with your doctor or nurse before taking calcium pills to see which kind is best for you.
Here's how much calcium you need each day:
Milligrams per day
51 and older
Pregnant or nursing women need the same amount of calcium as other women of the same age.
Here are some foods to help you get the calcium you need. Check the food labels for more information.
Percent of Recommended Daily Amount
Plain, fat-free (or low-fat) yogurt
1 cup
American cheese
2 ounces
Milk (fat-free or low-fat)
1 cup
Orange juice with added calcium
1 cup
Broccoli, cooked or fresh
1 cup
Calcium and Strong Bones

Bone Health

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