Healthy Bones at Every Age

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Bone health is important at every age and stage of life. The skeleton is our body’s storage bank for calcium — a mineral that is necessary for our bodies to function. Calcium is especially important as a building block of bone tissue.We must get calcium from the foods we eat. If we do not have enough calcium in our diets to keep our bodies functioning, calcium is removed from where it is stored in our bones. Over time, this causes our bones to grow weaker.

Loss of bone strength can lead to osteoporosis — a disorder in which bones become very fragile and more likely to break. Older adults with osteoporosis are most vulnerable to breaks in the wrist, hip, and spine. These fractures can seriously limit mobility and independence.

Fortunately, there are many things we can do at every age to keep our bones strong and healthy.

Peak Bone Mass

Our maximum bone size and strength is called peak bone mass. Genes play a large role in how much peak bone we have. For example, the actual size and structure of a person’s skeleton is determined by genetic factors.

Although peak bone mass is largely determined by our genes, there are lifestyle factors — such as diet and exercise — that can influence whether we reach our full bone mass potential.