Invest in your Bones

How diet, life styles and genetics affect bone development in young people

This 12-page report was launched as part of a series of global activities taking place on or around World Osteoporosis Day, October 20, 2001. Written by Prof. Jean-Philippe Bonjour, a leading expert in the field and a member of IOF's Committee of Scientific Advisors, the report explains the facts and fallacies of how diet, lifestyle and genetics affects bone development in young people.

Osteoporosis affects one in three women and one in eight men during their lives. Most people who suffer from the disease are in the last third of their lives, generally 50 or older. It is therefore appropriate that a considerable amount of research effort goes into finding new diagnosis and treatment options for people with osteoporosis. However wherever I speak to public gatherings, people ask me about the issue of prevention. I'm asked if children take certain precautions, eat certain foods, live in a certain way, can they avoid osteoporosis later on in life? My answer is always ‘yes, up to a point'. It is simplistic, and wrong, to say that if a child drinks plenty of milk she or he will not get osteoporosis as an adult. Many other factors enter into the equation - especially whether the child has inherited a genetic tendency to osteoporosis from the mother. But certain life style changes can dramatically improve, or hinder, the development of strong bones, which can, in turn affect the likelihood of a person developing osteoporosis and breaking a bone later in life. This report, written by Jean-Philippe Bonjour, one of the world's leading experts in the field, presents the facts and addresses the fallacies.

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