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Bone Health: A Family Guide

Osteoporosis is rarely, if ever, mentioned as a top health concern for women. While doctors encourage you to do monthly breast checks and watch for changes in moles on your skin, there's seldom a discussion about protecting your bones. If anything, perhaps you pop a calcium supplement. And yet, simple lifestyle choices and changes you make today can lower your risk of developing thinning bones and fractures in the future. Same goes for your kids, who acquire about 90% of their bone mass by high school graduation. And don't forget about your parents: Small fixes around their homes can prevent unnecessary falls, which often lead to debilitating bone breaks. Don't wait. Now is the time to take action to safeguard yourself and your entire family.

By Eileen Stukane

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Karen Pearson
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Tips for You

Approximately 10 million people over age 50 have osteoporosis. Improve your bone health before menopause and you may be able to avoid this debilitating disease.

Lose Belly Fat

Extra weight around your waist may lead to osteoporosis. A recent study conducted by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School found that women who had high amounts of visceral (belly) fat had less bone mineral density than women who did not. "Belly fat appears to produce an inflammatory response, which raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes and can accelerate bone loss," says Felicia Cosman, M.D., clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "Maintaining a healthy overall body weight through diet and exercise (particularly activities that target the core like Pilates) is essential."

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