Building strong bones for a strong Tasmania

Building strong bones for a strong Tasmania

Healthy Bones Action Week, 17 to 23 August 2020, is focusing on building stronger bones to prevent osteoporosis. People aged over 65 years are encouraged to take three simple actions to build and maintain healthy bones:

  • Eat four serves of calcium-rich foods each day.
  • Be physically active and include weight bearing exercise.
  • Get outside in the sun to increase vitamin D.

Almost all calcium in the body is stored in bones and teeth, where it helps to keep them strong. Calcium also helps keep our heart, muscles, blood and nervous systems working normally. When someone doesn’t eat enough calcium, their body will draw it out of the bones to help support body functions. Over time, this can cause osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become brittle and can break or fracture more easily.

More Tasmanian's have osteoporosis compared with the rest of Australia. Osteoporosis is more common as people get older, but it can be prevented. You can take steps to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis by:

  • not smoking
  • reducing alcohol intake
  • reducing caffeine intake
  • increasing physical activity.

Eating four serves of calcium-rich foods every day can help keep bones healthy. One serve is:

  • a cup (250mL) of cow’s milk or plant-based milks fortified with calcium
  • a tub of yoghurt (200g) or a cup of custard
  • two slices of cheese (40g)
  • half a cup of tinned fish with bones (for example salmon or sardines).

Not all calcium-rich foods are absorbed the same. The calcium in milk, yoghurt and cheese can be easily absorbed by your body. Green leafy vegetables such as bok choy and spinach are high in calcium, but this is not easily absorbed by your body.
Some ideas to add more calcium into meals and snacks:

  • Eat yoghurt with fruit as a snack or add to breakfast cereal.
  • Drink a smoothie made with milk and yoghurt.
  • Make warm drinks with more milk, such as a milky coffee or hot a milk malt drink.
  • Snack on cheese and crackers with yoghurt-based dips, such as tzatziki.
  • Add cheese to sandwiches, savoury pancakes, omelettes, casseroles and pasta dishes.
  • Add milk or milk powder to casseroles, soups, and sauces.

For more information on how to prevent osteoporosis, take a look at our Osteoporosis fact sheet, or head over to the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Tasmania website.