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Home > Nutrition

Teens & Bone Health



Did you know nearly 9 out of 10 teenage girls and almost 7 out of 10 teenage boys don't get enough calcium in their daily diets? Building strong bones is critical during the teen and young adult years, because that's when bone grows to its strongest and densest point.

Bones are made up of mostly calcium, so lots of calcium is needed for fast-growing teenage bones. According to the National Academy of Sciences, young people ages 9-18 need 1,300 mgs of calcium every day. If you don't get enough calcium during these years, you're at risk of severe health problems, like fractures now and osteoporosis later. But a high-calcium balanced diet, weight-bearing exercise, and healthy habits can help you prevent osteoporosis later on and keep you feeling and looking your best.

1300 mgs of calcium sounds like a lot, but it's not that hard to get the calcium you need from what you eat. You probably won't need a supplement if you're smart. A cup of milk with each meal and one at the end of the day, plus the calcium found in a regular balanced diet is enough. Lowfat milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. Get creative and try a variety of high-calcium foods like beans and broccoli, and calcium-fortified foods cereal or tofu. Choose your favorite foods that are high in calcium, such as low-fat chocolate milk, fortified juices, frozen yogurt, beans, cheese pizza, and yogurt smoothies. For more information on Calcium-Rich Foods, call 602-470-8086 for taped information then press 2153.

Teens who guzzle carbonated soft drinks may damage their bone health for years to come. Recent studies have found that teens who drink soda are more likely to have bone fractures. It may be because phosphates in soda damage bones, or just that teens are replacing milk with non-nutritious soft drinks. Grabbing a can of soda is tempting, but more nutritious choices always pay off in health and good looks.

Some young people try to be very thin, but this can mean your body is not getting the nutrients it needs this could cause permanent damage to your bones, heart, and brain. Talk to your doctor or school nurse before dieting or not eating.

Weight-bearing exercise is also needed for building healthy bones and great bodies. Don't be a couch potato! Bones need exercise just like muscles. Sports like soccer, basketball, tennis, or hiking are great ways to give your bones and whole body a workout. But remember, too much exercise isn't good either. Talk to your parents or coach if you work out too much, and for girls, if you stop having your period.

Teens have a great opportunity to build bone for strong, healthy, independent lives. So make healthy choices avoid dieting, eat balanced nutritious meals, get plenty of exercise, and don't smoke or drink alcohol you'll improve your bone health while keeping your good looks. Make a commitment to a bright future: be a Bone Builder!

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