Since a large percent of bone mass increase takes place during adolescence, dieting during this time can be particularly harmful for bone health in young women. Young women with anorexia are at an even greater risk. Eating healthy foods including those high in calcium and vitamin D, such as dairy products, is very crucial at this age. For more information about this topic, please see the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s (IOF) web site.
I’ll be honest – I’m in a grumpy mood today. In part because of the headline that Reuter’s used when they reported the above story: “Skinny teens warned about osteoporosis risk”. What the IOF was actually saying is that young women who diet or are anorexic should be concerned about their bone health. Some of us are naturally skinnny, and were so when we were young too. Just because someone is skinny doesn’t mean they are dieting or anorexic. Every so many years the media becomes all ‘anti skinny’ and we seem to be in that phase again lately. Yes, anorexia is bad but just because someone is thin doesn’t mean they are unhealthy or anorexic. If we want women – all women – to feel good about themselves and their bodies we can’t start making thin people feel like they are doing something bad or wrong anymore than we should make overweight people feel that way.
Ok, I got that out of my system – I feel better now.
On to more bone health news – a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has more evidence that magnesium plays an important role in bone formation. A population of girls were were divded into groups – one which received magnesium supplements and one that didn’t. Those which took the magnesium had bone mineral content that was significantly larger than those who didn’t. All the girls in the study had lower than recommended levels of magnesium to start with. It is not yet known if these same results would be seen in girls who were getting enough magnesium in their diet already. Foods high in magnesium include spinach, tofu, sesame and sunflower seeds, brocoli and various legumes.
Two studies recently evaluated bone mineral density (BMD) testing. In one, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that repeating BMD tests before 8 years doesn’t help to predict the chances of an older woman having a bone fracture. If a woman has been sick, taken certain medications or going through menopause an additional test may be more helpful. It sounds like this study was done by someone associated with a health insurance company though – maybe they are just trying to get out of paying for more testing?
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that both men and women over 60 who have already had one bone fracture are just likely as the other gender to have another fracture. Osteoporosis is often thought of an a women’s issue – and of course I include it on my blog -but really, men should be aware of the risks too.
Some good news for women with endometriosis – some new research indicates that endometriosis may not increase the chances of eventually having a fracture, which somewhat contradicts earlier studies. This new study was published in Fertility and Sterility.
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