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Sitting Too Much May Be Killing You

By Res-Q editor July 28, 2016 No comments

You’ve likely heard the expression, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Although some studies indicate this may not be entirely true, researchers remain united on the fact that too much sitting is definitely bad – and not just for your saddlebags. Studies have time and again concluded that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses, ranging from osteoporosis to cancer to heart disease to type 2 diabetes.

So, what is it about sitting that’s so detrimental to your health? Here’s a snapshot of what’s happening inside your body every time you take a seat and settle in to stay – whether you’re parking it on your office chair or your comfy couch.

Get Enough Calcium!

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services June 4, 2014 No comments

The Basics


Your body needs calcium to build strong bones when you are young and to keep bones strong as you get older. Everyone needs calcium, but it’s especially important for women and girls.

  • Girls ages 9 to 18 need 1,300 mg (milligrams) of calcium every day.
  • Women ages 19 to 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium every day.
  • Women over age 50 need 1,200 mg of calcium every day.

Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis (weak bones).
One in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis (“os-tee-oh-puh-ROH-sis”). Some people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone.

Calcium helps to keep your bones strong and less likely to break.

How can I get enough calcium?
There are 2 easy ways to get your calcium:

  1. Eat foods with calcium every day, such as:
    • Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk, yogurt, and cheese
    • Broccoli, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables
    • Tofu with added calcium
    • Soy-based drinks (soymilk) with added calcium
    • Orange juice with added calcium
  2. Take a calcium pill every day. You can choose a pill that has only calcium or a multivitamin with calcium. Let your doctor know you are taking extra calcium.

Check out this list of foods that are high in calcium.

 

Take Action!

Most women don’t get enough calcium. Protect your bones – get plenty of calcium every day.

Know how much calcium you need.

  • Women ages 19 to 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium daily.
  • Girls need even more calcium – and so do women over age 50.

Find out how much calcium you need each day.

If you take a calcium pill, make it easy to remember. 

  • Take it at the same time every day. For example, try taking it when you eat breakfast.
  • Leave the pill bottle out where you will see it, like on the kitchen or by the bathroom sink.
nutrition label highlighting percent daily value of calciumThis label shows a food with 45% DV of calcium.

Check food labels.
Use this calcium shopping list to find foods high in calcium when you are at the grocery store.

Foods that have at least 20% DV (daily value) of calcium are excellent choices. For example:

  • A cup of fat-free milk has about 300 mg of calcium, or 30% DV.
  • Some kinds of breakfast cereal have 600 mg of calcium per serving, or 60% DV.

Learn how to check food labels for calcium information.

Get enough vitamin D. 
Vitamin D helps your body absorb (take in) calcium. Check this chart to see how much vitamin D you need each day.

Your body makes vitamin D when you are out in the sun. You can also get vitamin D from:

  • Salmon and tuna
  • Milk with added vitamin D
  • Some breakfast cereals, yogurt, and juices with added vitamin D
  • Vitamin D pills

Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin D pills.

Eat healthy.
Along with eating foods high in calcium or taking a calcium pill, eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods.

Posted in: Bone Health

Foods with Calcium

By US Department of Health & Human Services June 4, 2014 No comments

Your body needs calcium to build strong bones and help prevent osteoporosis (bone loss). These tips can help you get enough calcium:

  • Foods with at least 20% DV (Daily Value) of calcium are excellent choices. Check the Nutrition Facts label to see the % DV. Foods with less calcium can also help you meet your daily calcium goal.
  • Don’t forget vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb (take in) calcium.

Take the list below with you the next time you go food shopping.

Milk and Milk Products

Look for fat-free or low-fat milk products. (Lactose-reduced milk products are also good sources of calcium.)

  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
  • Low-fat cheese (3 grams of fat or less per serving)
  • Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese

Vegetables

These green vegetables can be a great way to get more calcium:

  • Turnip greens
  • Kale
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens

If you buy canned vegetable, look for ones labeled “low sodium” or “no salt added.” If you buy frozen vegetables, choose ones without butter or cream sauces.

Foods with Added Calcium

These foods often have added calcium. Check the % DV of calcium on the Nutrition Facts label to be sure.

  • Breakfast cereal
  • Tofu with added calcium
  • Orange juice with calcium
  • Fat-free or low-fat soy-based drinks (soymilk) with calcium

Foods with Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D is added to some foods, like milk, breakfast cereals, and juice. Check the Nutrition Facts label.
  • You can also get some vitamin D from fish like salmon and tuna.
Posted in: Bone Health

Guide to Bone Density Tests

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services June 4, 2014 No comments

The Basics 

A bone density test measures how strong your bones are. The test will tell you if you are at risk for osteoporosis (“os-tee-oh-puh-ROH-sis”).

  • If you are a woman age 65 or older, schedule a bone density test.
  • If you are a woman age 50 to 64, ask your doctor if you need a bone density test.

If you are at risk for osteoporosis (weak bones), your doctor or nurse may recommend getting a bone density test every 2 years.

Men can get osteoporosis, too. If you are a man over age 65 and concerned about your bone strength, talk with your doctor or nurse.

What happens during a bone density test?
A bone density test is like an x-ray or scan of your body. A bone density test doesn’t hurt. It only takes about 15 minutes.

What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease. It means your bones are weak and more likely to break. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist.

Anyone can get osteoporosis, but it’s most common in older women. The older you are, the greater your risk for osteoporosis.

There are no signs or symptoms of osteoporosis. You might not know you have the disease until you break a bone. That’s why it’s so important to get a bone density test to measure your bone strength.

Learn more about osteoporosis and bone health:

What if I have osteoporosis?
If you have osteoporosis, you can still help slow down bone loss. Finding and treating it early can keep you healthier and more active, and can lower your chances of breaking a bone.

Depending on the results of your bone density test, you may need to:

  • Add more calcium and vitamin D to your diet
  • Exercise more to strengthen your bones
  • Take medicine to stop bone loss

Your doctor can tell you what steps are right for you. It doesn’t matter how old you are – it’s not too late to stop bone loss!

 

Take Action!

Take these steps to protect your bone health.

Schedule a bone density test. 
Ask your doctor if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Find out when to start getting bone density tests.

Print these questions for your doctor about preventing osteoporosis. Take them to your next checkup.

What about cost?
Screening for osteoporosis is covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get screened at no cost to you.

For information about services for women that are covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.

Get enough calcium.
Calcium helps keep your bones strong. Use this calcium shopping list to help you find foods high in calcium, like:

  • Low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli and greens
  • Tofu with added calcium
  • Orange juice with added calcium
  • Calcium pills

Get enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps your body use calcium. Both vitamin D and calcium are needed for strong bones.

Your body makes vitamin D when you are out in the sun. You can also get vitamin D from:

  • Salmon or tuna
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk with added vitamin D
  • Some breakfast cereals, juices, and yogurt with added vitamin D
  • Vitamin D pills

Find out how much vitamin D you need each day.

Stay away from cigarettes and alcohol.
Cigarettes and alcohol can weaken your bones.

Lower your risk of falling.
Falls can be especially serious for people with weak bones. You can make small changes to help prevent falls, like doing exercises that improve your balance. For example, try walking backwards or standing from a sitting position.

Get active.
Physical activity can help slow down bone loss. Weight-bearing activities (like running and jumping jacks) can help keep your bones strong.

  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. If you are new to exercise, start with 10 minutes of activity at a time.
  • Do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. These include lifting weights or using resistance bands (long rubber strips that stretch).
  • Find an exercise buddy. You will be more likely to stick with it if you exercise with a friend.

If you have a health condition, be as active as you can be. Your doctor can help you choose the best activities for your abilities.

Use these tips to help you stay active as you get older.

Find an activity that works for you.
Check with your local community or senior center to find fun, low-cost or free exercise options. Try something new, like:

  • Aerobics
  • Tai chi (“ty chee”) – A Chinese mind-body exercise that involves moving slowly and gently
  • Yoga
  • Weight training
  • Walking with friends

Find healthy activities that you enjoy [PDF – 881 KB].

Posted in: Bone Health

Osteoporosis - Questions to Ask Your Doctor

By U.S. Department of Health and Human Services June 4, 2014 No comments

Osteoporosis (“os-tee-oh-puh-ROH-sis”) is a disease of the bones. It means your bones are weak and more likely to break. Anyone can get osteoporosis, but it’s most common in older women.

Ask your doctor or nurse about steps you can take to prevent weak bones and lower your risk for osteoporosis. If you are age 50 or older, talk to your doctor about testing your bone strength.

Screening for osteoporosis is covered under the Affordable Care Act for some women over age 60. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get screened at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance provider.

What do I ask the doctor?

Visiting the doctor can be stressful. It helps to have questions written down before your appointment. Print these questions, and take them with you the next time you visit the doctor. You may want to take a family member or close friend along to help take notes.

  • What puts me at risk for osteoporosis?
  • What foods can I eat to help prevent osteoporosis?
  • What kinds of physical activity can I do to help prevent osteoporosis?
  • Am I currently taking any medicines that cause bone loss?
  • How much calcium and vitamin D do I need each day?
  • How can I get enough calcium?
  • How can I find out if I have weak bones?
  • If I have osteoporosis, what are my treatment options?
Posted in: Bone Health