Diet and bone health
In the sixth article in our series on nutrition, Sarah Schenker explains the importance of calcium and vitamin D
Diet is an important factor in forming healthy bones. The mineral calcium is obtained from the diet and deposited in bones and teeth. Vitamin D is required for this process.
A healthy diet providing adequate calcium at all stages of life, coupled with an active lifestyle, will help to ensure strong bones. This is particularly important during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood when bones are developing. Peak bone mass is reached at the age of about 30 to 35. It is the stage at which the skeleton is strongest. After this age bone mass decreases. Optimising peak bone mass at skeletal maturity provides important protection against osteoporosis in later life.
Around 90-95% of peak bone mass is attained by the end of the second decade. Adolescence is a particularly critical period, with approximately 40% of peak bone mass in girls being laid down during this time. This process is under