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Bone health

Most Americans Unaware of Dietary Links to Bone Health, Survey Reveals

Monday, August 20, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: bone health, osteoporosis, health news


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(NewsTarget) The majority of people in the United States are poorly informed about the prevalence of osteoporosis, according to a study conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for nutritional supplement manufacturer GTC Nutrition.

Opinion Research Corporation questioned 1,031 people by telephone. Eighty-six percent of those questioned believed that women are at greater risk from breast, ovarian or uterine cancer than from bone fractures linked to osteoporosis. According to GTC, however, a woman's risk of osteoporosis-related fracture exceeds her risk of all three types of cancer combined.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mineral density, leading to an increased risk of fractures. Because calcium is essential for the formation of healthy bones, calcium deficiency is one of the primary risk factors for osteoporosis. Other risk factors include hormone excesses or deficiencies, vitamin D deficiency, low activity levels and smoking.

More than two-thirds of survey respondents were also unaware that 90 percent of girls between the ages of 12 and 19 are calcium deficient.

"These survey findings, while concerning, underscore the opportunity Americans have to increase their overall health and well-being by learning more about bone health and the factors that influence it, including calcium absorption," said Coni Francis, senior manager of science, marketing and technical services for GTC. According to a GTC press release, only 30 percent of dietary calcium is absorbed.

Consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author for Truth Publishing, agreed that beyond calcium intake, the absorption of the mineral is an important and often overlooked factor in bone health.

"Worse yet, almost no consumers and very few doctors are aware of the vitamin D link to calcium absorption," Adams said. "Without adequate vitamin D in the body, calcium cannot be absorbed in sufficient quantities, and most Americans, Canadians and Europeans are chronically deficient in vitamin D."

The body synthesizes vitamin D naturally from exposure to sunlight.

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