Bone Health Risks

By EatingWell Editors

Factors that you can’t control

Age: Increased age (particularly beyond 50) = increased risk. Bone density declines as we age. For this reason, it is important to “bank” as much calcium as possible during the time—childhood and adolescence—when our bodies are programmed to build bone stores. Adolescent girls need to be particularly conscientious about getting enough calcium since their recommended daily intake (1,300 mg) is higher than that of other groups.

Gender: Women, who tend to be smaller and weigh less than men, are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.

Your genes: Susceptibility to fracture may be, in part, hereditary.

Medications: Certain medications, including some used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid and gastrointestinal diseases, have side effects that can damage bone and lead to osteoporosis. Discuss the use of medications with your doctor.