Learn about how puberty affects female bone growth from Jennifer Wider, M.D. in this Howcast video.
One thing you may not be thinking about during puberty are your bones, but you really should. Have you ever noticed those elderly women walking around sort of hunched over? The reason that they’re hunched over is that they have a disease called osteoporosis, which is responsible for the thinning of the bones, making them brittle and more susceptible to a fracture. In fact, 50 percent of fractures in women 50 and older is due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is way more common in women than it is in men, and this is why you need to pay attention to it. You need to start getting enough calcium in your diet during puberty. While you’re a teenager and your bones are growing, they have a great capacity of absorbing calcium and vitamin D. Once you stop growing, that opportunity to absorb calcium and vitamin D ends, so this is the time right now to start getting calcium in your diet. You can find calcium in leafy vegetables, you can find it in milk, obviously, any dairy product, yogurt, cheese, you can also get it in calcium fortified cereals and juices, so if you’re with mom in the supermarket buying orange juice, let her know to get the one fortified with calcium and vitamin D, it will do your body good, I promise. It is so important right now to get enough calcium and vitamin D so that you prevent osteoporosis in the future. And one more note, this disease runs in families, so if you have family members that have osteoporosis, you are even at higher risk of this disease, and that’s why it is so important to get your calcium and vitamin D now.