Do Your Nutritional Needs For Skeletal Health Change As You Age?

xrayThe right nutrition does make a difference to your bone health. It also influences your ability to live a mobile, independent, fracture-free life into your more senior years, says a new report in the journal Osteoporosis International. The report, entitled Healthy Nutrition, Healthy Bones: How Nutritional Factors Affect Musculoskeletal Health Throughout Life was released this week.

The report summarizes the latest evidence relating to the nutritional needs of mothers, children adolescents, adults and seniors in relation to developing and maintaining a healthy skeleton. It places particular emphasis on calcium, protein and vitamin D and shows how adequate nutritional intake of these and other micronutrients can support the primary objectives for good bone health. These objectives include preventing and treating osteoporosis in seniors, avoiding premature bone loss and maintaining a healthy skeleton in adults, and achieving genetic potential for peak bone mass in children and adolescents.

The report also details how lifestyle trends lead to poor diet and nutrient deficiencies and are a growing cause of concern for children mainly as well as people of all ages.

Vitamin D And Calcium

Vitamin D deficiency was found to be widespread among youth and has led to recommendations in several countries for vitamin D supplements to be given to infants and young children. The mainstay of calcium intake for most children is milk and dairy products but a decline in milk consumption has been observed world-wide over the last few decades.

Calcium intakes for adults and seniors are also often considerably below those recommended by national guidelines, studies have shown. Alarmingly low levels of vitamin D have also been found in populations around the world. Lifestyle factors smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and a very low or high body mass index also elevate the risk for a substantial number of people.

The report also details the impact of nutrition on falls and fracture prevention in seniors most affected by osteoporosis and a growing segment of the population. It also shows how deficits in protein intake as well as malnutrition can negatively affect bone and muscle health. It suggests how adequate nutritional intake along with appropriate exercise plays an important complementary role to pharmacotherapy for those at a high risk of fracture.

"This new report shows just how important nutrition is for our bone health throughout life, says Professor Cyrus Cooper, co-author and chair of the International Osteoporosis Foundation Committee of Scientific Advisors. In fact, nutrition plays a key role in the development of a healthy skeleton even before birth. Healthy maternal diets as well as adequate vitamin D levels are associated with greater bone mass in the off-spring."

"The baby boomer generation is aging and as a result age-related musculoskeletal diseases are imposing an increasingly costly burden on society and health-care systems worldwide, added Professor Bess Dawson Hughes, co-author and professor at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. This report shows how we can tap the potential of healthy nutrition within a systematic life-course approach to support osteoporosis and fracture prevention."

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