Preventing osteoporosis: start as a teenager Preventing osteoporosis: start as a teenager

Keeping the body constantly active and maintaining a good diet helps strengthen the bones and prevents osteoporosis. 

One of the main risk factors of this condition is having a family history. However, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), diet and physical activity also affect bone development during youth and bone deterioration over the years.

Osteoporosis is known as a condition that affects women more than men. However, the IOF states that both genders run the risk of developing the disease and recommend taking preventative measures during our teen years, “It’s never too early to invest in bone health. Bones are living tissue, and the skeleton grows continually from birth to the end of the teenage years, reaching a maximum strength and size (peak bone mass) in early adulthood, around the mid-20s.”

During this phase of life it is best to regularly consume vitamin D (fish, soy products, eggs and mushrooms) and calcium (milk almonds, yogurt, spinach) as well as develop a habit of playing sports. The IOF states, “It’s estimated a 10% increase of peak bone mass in children reduces the risk of an osteoporotic fracture during adult life by 50%.”

This advice also applies to adult bodies, yet specific workouts are needed to strengthen the bones and preserve mobility. For example, David Slovok, a professor at Harvard Medical School recommends doing exercises that require the body to work against gravity such as going up the stairs, playing tennis or dancing, and doing exercises that improve balance such as yoga or stretching.