The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

What can I do to ensure good bone health?

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Bone health is determined by uncontrollable and controllable factors. A healthy, balanced diet that includes enough calcium and vitamin D and getting regular exercise are essential. Consuming enough calcium during the teenage years is particularly important to ensure strong bones.

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Your bone health and strength are determined largely by factors beyond your control, such as genetics, gender and age. However, factors such as diet and physical activity are in our control, and these are particularly important during adolescence, when bones are still developing. A balanced diet that provides ‘bone-friendly’ nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin D, zinc and magnesium is essential. Dairy foods are rich in a number of these nutrients. Regular participation in so-called weight-bearing activities (any activities that put the full weight of your body on your feet and legs) is also needed. Examples of such activities include brisk walking, running/jogging, tennis and most team sports. Maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, getting exposure to direct sunlight for 10–30 minutes per day and not smoking are also good advice to keep your bones healthy.

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