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Teens and Bone Strength

2011 February 23 by

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What factor is most important to ensure adequate bone density in teenage girls? When 80 young women were followed from age 12 to 22, the only factor that influenced bone density was exercise. Calcium intake and oral contraceptive use had no effect on bone strength. There may be other factors such as vitamin D levels from sun exposure and dietary sources, but the data pertaining to exercise was so dramatic that the study results are very convincing. What does this say to the dairy industry’s claims that milk creates strong bones? How should this study impact our thinking about the minimum daily intake of calcium for children? It should reassure those parents who limit dairy intake because of an allergy or sensitivity to milk, and it should make us less militant about the daily dose of calcium. It should also encourage parents to require an exercise program during early childhood and the teenage years.

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