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Osteoporosis Facts:
What Teens Need to Know

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The road to osteoporosis and bone deformities starts when you are young. Paying attention to your bone health now means beautiful bones in the future.

Important Things to Know:

  • Teenage bodies are able to better take in and retain calcium.
  • Starting in the teenage years, our bodies add the bulk (thickness and strength) to our bones to last our entire adult lives.
  • Women reach their highest bone mass by around age 25 to 30 while men build bone until age 30 to 35; after this point more bone is lost than is built up.
  • The calcium %DV (percent Daily Value) for a teen is 1,200 mg/day.

Strengthen Your Bones:

  • Growing bone responds to the impact of weight bearing activity and the pull of muscle during exercise by building stronger, more dense bones. Weight-bearing exercises include: jogging, dancing, jumping rope, hiking, inline skating, skateboarding.
  • From ages 11 to 24 the daily requirement for calcium is 1,200 milligrams (mg).
  • Bones also need vitamin D, which moves calcium from the intestine to the bloodstream and into bone.
  • Vitamins A and C, magnesium and zinc, as well as protein also help build bone structure.

Behaviors That Put Your Bones at Risk:

  • Skipping meals can be risky because it eliminates one chance to meet the daily requirements of calcium.
  • Replacing milk with drinks like soda or fruit-flavored drinks.
  • Eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, can weaken bone.
  • Tobacco products and alcohol can weaken your bones.

Adapted from factsheet:
Bone Builders: Support Your Bones with Healthy Habits.

Compiled by
Judith Chilcot
School of Nursing
University of Washington Medical Center


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