Bone Appétit Report 2006

Bone Appétit: The role of food and nutrition in building and maintaining strong bones

Bone Appetit Report: The role of food and nutrition in building and maintaing strong bonesPublished for World Osteoporosis Day 2006 by Prof. Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD on behalf of the International Osteoporosis Foundation Committee of Scientific Advisors, this report examines the important role of healthy nutrition in building bone (in youth) and in maintaining bone health in adulthood.

Nutritional factors related to bone health – including how calcium and vitamin D effect bone density and fracture risk – are reviewed. The report also lists special considerations for the elderly and outlines the role of micronutrients, proteins, and fruits and vegetables in bone health. Negative dietary factors and special issues related to nutrition and specific diseases are also discussed.

Key findings:

  • An adequate calcium intake, which meets the relevant dietary recommendations in the country or region concerned, should be ensured at all stages of life
  • Dairy foods, calcium-set tofu, some green vegetables, nuts, and small canned fish with soft bones provide the most readily-available sources of dietary calcium
  • An adequate supply of vitamin D is required, through sufficient exposure to the sun, through diet, or through supplements
  • Adequate protein intake is necessary. Protein malnutrition is an important risk factor for hip fracture, and can also contribute to poor recovery in patients who have had a fracture
  • Excessive alcohol consumption should be avoided
  • Being underweight  is a strong risk factor for osteoporosis (body mass index < 18.5 kg/m2)
  • If on a weight-reducing diet, ensure adequate intakes of calcium and vitamin D, and avoid 'fad' diets in which whole food groups are severely restricted or eliminated
  • Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in the diet, as these are beneficial for both bone and overall health
  • In addition to a nutritious diet, other complementary lifestyle practices such as taking regular exercise and avoiding smoking help to maintain bone density

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