Sunday September 25th 2022

The Skinny On Osteoporosis in the Quest to be Thin

October is Osteoporosis Awareness Month. The press release below is from Novartis

The skinny on osteoporosis is that women who follow fad diets in their ongoing quest to be thin are at a greater risk of developing the disease that threatens bones and makes them more susceptible to breaks and fractures. 1 The term “thin”, which is such a sought after quality by so many in the western world, is a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 or below and it is at this point that a lower bone density begins to occur. 2

The problem lies in the fact that the fridges of those on constant diets are often sadly depleted of calcium rich foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. Often considered to be high in fat, weight watchers tend to keep a large distance between themselves and these ingredients which can help to avert the progression to osteoporosis. A healthy intake of calcium throughout one’s life is an integral part of the prevention of this debilitating condition, and so it is vital that foods containing this crucial element are not removed entirely from the daily menus of dieters. 3

“Studies have revealed that osteoporosis is hereditary and so it is essential for those with a history of the disease in their family to keep a watchful eye on their diets. The condition causes bones to become more porous and this can lead to fractures of the spine, hips and wrists, which at times can be life threatening. Including foods that offer a good dose of calcium is a small measure that can go a long way towards combatting the effects of this illness,” says Tereza Hough of the National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa.

Hough goes on to add that there are alternative sources of calcium for those who steer clear of the traditional sources of this mineral and she says, “Nuts and seeds such as almonds and sesame, beans, oranges, figs, quinoa, broccoli and green leafy vegetables such as kale all offer good sources of calcium. The trick, for those trying to lose weight, is to substitute high fat food products with these healthy options so that dieters continue to get their recommended daily allowance of calcium of 1 000 milligrams for adults under the age of 60 and 1 200 milligrams for those who have passed the 60 mark. Vitamin D is also a vital component in the fight against osteoporosis and doctors advise that the optimal intake is between 1 000 IU and 2 000 IU per day.”

Osteoporosis specialist, Dr Stan Lipschitz explains, “With one in three women and one in five men expected to get osteoporosis in their lifetime, precautionary steps are a necessity and this includes the daily intake of calcium. It is also advisable for most women to undergo bone mineral density (BMD) testing especially if risk factors are present because with no real symptoms that emerge, most people only discover that they have osteoporosis once they fall and break a bone. It is for this reason that osteoporosis is known as the silent epidemic.”

“With that said, help is close at hand for those who find they do indeed have osteoporosis.  Treatment options include daily or weekly oral medications, as well as a once yearly treatment. Patients simply need to consult their doctors to identify which option best suits their needs,” concludes Dr Lipschitz.

It all begins, however, with a healthy lifestyle which includes a daily diet rich in calcium. And the skinny on osteoporosis is that in the quest to be thin many of us are putting our bones at risk and setting ourselves up for unnecessary pain later on in life. 4

Speak to your doctor about being tested for osteoporosis and ask about the best treatment for your condition and lifestyle. Alternatively visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa (NOFSA)’s website ( for more information and assistance. Don’t let the silent epidemic get the best of you. Stand tall for your independence today.


1.        Osteoporosis: An Evidence-Based Guide to Prevention and Management, Felicia Cosman, MD, medical director of the Clinical Research Center at Helen Hayes Hospital in Haverstraw, N.Y:

2.        Beth Kitchin, MS, RD, assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama-Birmingham:

3.        Timeless Women; How to Prevent and Manage Osteoporosis:

4.        Timeless Women; How to Prevent and Manage Osteoporosis:

Source : Jenni Newman Public Relations (Pty) Ltd

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