When most people think of osteoporosis, they probably think of an elderly woman with her back hunched over. Most likely, a teenage girl is not thinking about this disease ever affecting her, but the teenage years are the best time to bring this debilitating condition to light. When teenagers change their habits at an early age, they can help keep osteoporosis at bay down the road.
Since most teenagers are more in tune with the latest fad, song, or iPhone application, there is something that parents and other adult role models can apply to these young lives, and that is direction on how to follow a healthy diet that can protect them from the debilitating effects of osteoporosis when they are much older.
A serious dietary risk among teenagers today is not just the foods they are eating, but the beverages they are consuming that can put their bones at risk.
Osteoporosis, a crippling disease that results in low bone density and increased bone fragility, typically does not rear its ugly head until the middle-aged years. However, it can begin to manifest itself during adolescence, when the skeleton is very busy absorbing dietary calcium and making almost all of the bone mass that will carry the teenager throughout life.
To ensure lifelong bone health for teenagers, especially girls, it is important to make sure they consume enough calcium while they are young so that they can achieve their maximum bone density. By one’s mid-20s, the critical window period for calcium absorption starts to close, and a woman’s ability to get enough calcium in her bones is greatly reduced.
It is believed that just 14 percent of teenage American girls are getting enough calcium in their daily diets to allow them to avoid osteoporosis by the time they are in their 50s. In fact, only one in seven girls eats enough dairy foods and other calcium-rich products to attain the adequate bone mass necessary to prevent brittle bones and fractures when they are in their middle-aged years and beyond.
It has been reported that teenagers in the 1970s drank twice as much milk as teenagers today.