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
In order to absorb calcium, your body needs an adequate amount of D. Most people can't get enough of it from food sources. Ten minutes in the sun provides the proper dose, but if you regularly apply sunscreen—as you should—you'll fall short. The Institute of Medicine recommends 600 IU daily. Look for a supplement with vitamin D3, which appears to be most effectively absorbed.