Good nutrition essential for bone health

New IOF report highlights vital link between nutrition and strong bones; global celebrities urge bone-healthy eating habits; new IOF website launched; World Osteoporosis Day celebrated in more than 80 countries.
Left to right: Mr Daniel Navid, Dr Edith Lau, Mr Paul Sochaczewski, Prof. Annie Kung and Dr Anthony Kwok, speakers at the WOD 2006 Global Launch in Hong Kong. Chef Tsui Kit Po of the InterContinental Hong Kong created an exclusive calcium- and vitamin D-rich menu for the bone-friendly lunch and cooking demonstration for the media. Left to right: Mr Pradeep Pant, regional managing director, Fonterra Brands, presents Mr Daniel Navid, IOF CEO, with a cheque raised in support of IOF’s Asian societies.

Good nutrition is essential to building and maintaining strong bones, according to a new report issued in Hong Kong by International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) on the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day (WOD), October 20.

The new report “[link 578]Bone Appétit: the role of food and nutrition in building and maintaining strong bones[/link]” shares its title with the theme of WOD 2006, celebrated today with international activities by IOF’s member societies in 86 countries.

IOF Chief Executive Officer Daniel Navid, speaking at a press conference in Hong Kong, noted: “Everyone can help to reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis by following a bone-healthy lifestyle, which includes eating a nutritious diet, taking regular exercise and avoiding smoking and excess alcohol.

“By rejecting the misconception that “skinny is beautiful” and not following harmful and excessive weight loss diets, people can build strong bones and help to reduce the risk of breaking bones due to osteoporosis later in life.”

Professor Annie Kung, president of the Osteoporosis Society of Hong Kong, speaking at the conference, predicted an osteoporosis epidemic in Asia, noting: “It is projected that by 2050 about 50% of all osteoporotic hip fractures will occur in Asia. Partly this is due to increasing life expectancy, but is also related to lifestyle factors, including less-healthy eating habits.”

The importance of a nutritious diet with sufficient calcium and vitamin D to build and maintain bone strength has been shown in numerous clinical studies,” said Dr Edith Lau, president of the Hong Kong Osteoporosis Foundation and an IOF Board member. “Like any organ in the body, the skeleton needs a constant supply of nutrients to function properly and replenish itself throughout our lives.”

Also released by IOF today were twelve 30-second [link 588]public service announcements[/link] in which internationally-known entertainers, athletes, chefs and osteoporosis advocates urge people to adopt bone-friendly eating habits. These celebrities include:

  • Jet Li, Actor (China)
  • Karen Mok, Actress and singer (Hong Kong)
  • Retno Maruti, Master of classical Javanese dance (Indonesia)
  • Martin Yan, Master and celebrity TV chef (USA)
  • Gregory Coupet, Football star (France)
  • Silvia Valdemoros, Master and celebrity TV chef (Argentina)
  • Sportacus, Host of international hit children’s TV series ‘LazyTown’ (Iceland)
  • Britt Ekland, Actress (Sweden)
  • Martial Enguehard, Master chef (France)
  • Anton Mosimann, Master chef (Switzerland)
  • Ana Shepherd of Hangtime Circus, Aerialist (Canada)
  • Philippe Chevrier, Master chef (Switzerland)

World Osteoporosis Day, which begins the “Year of Bone Nutrition” also saw the launch of a completely new IOF website – – which went live for the first time during the Hong Kong press conference.

The new website features nutritional information for the public and health professionals, a global recipe database, and a calcium intake calculator. Nutrition facts released today show:

Calcium and vitamin D

Studies in children and adolescents have shown that adding extra dietary or supplemental calcium enhances the rate of bone mineral gain during growth.

Vitamin D is essential for assisting calcium absorption and ensuring bone tissue renewal yet a growing body of evidence suggests that, on a global level, vitamin D deficiency is widespread.

Calcium and vitamin D supplementation reduces rates of bone loss and also reduces fracture rates in older people.


Adequate dietary protein is essential for bone health. Studies have shown that elderly men and women with higher dietary protein intakes had lower rates of hip and spine bone loss than those consuming lower amounts of protein.

In elderly patients who have suffered hip fractures, ensuring sufficient protein intake helps to speed recovery, shorten hospital stays, and increase the likelihood of returning to independent living.

Lifestyle factors

Bone mass accumulation is greatest during puberty, thereby putting adolescents who follow unnecessary and excessive diets, and particularly those with anorexia nervosa, at greater risk for reduced peak bone mass and for fractures later in life.

WOD 2006 is supported by an unrestricted educational grant provided by four Global Gold Sponsors: Fonterra Brands, MSD, Novartis and Tetra Pak. In addition, the InterContinental Hong Kong, which is hosting the 20 October launch, will offer a special “bone-friendly” menu at its acclaimed Cantonese restaurant ‘Yan Toh Heen’.

Another highlight of the day was the presentation of a cheque for more than HD $ 225,000 to IOF by Fonterra Brands. These funds were raised during various events across Asia including a dance-a-thon with 20,000 participants in the Philippines; an interactive yoga session and line dance-a-thon in Singapore; and, in Vietnam, a walk-a-thon with over 10,000 people. Similar events took place in Guangzhou and Shanghai, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. The funds will be allocated to IOF members societies of the countries which participated.