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Bone Health in Our 50s

  • July 19, 2016
  • By 50 Shades
  • 12 Comments

shutterstock_92429542Anyone who was born in the 1950s or 60s would possibly remember the good old days where we were coerced into to drinking our daily allowance of cow’s milk, which included a third pint in a glass bottle that was made available throughout the schools in Australia. Sometimes that one third pint was left to go warm in the sun as the Milkman had delivered the crate of milk in the early hours of the morning, but nonetheless we were all ordered to drink the warm liquid down!

Apparently this milk delivery system happened nationally from 1950 through to 1973 in most creches and primary schools and it was largely a public health scheme – aimed at improving the nutrition of Australian children. You see in 1944, an Australia-wide nutritional survey had found that most Australian households were consuming significantly less than the recommended daily intake of calcium.

Fast forward to the 1980s and 90s and we were all being told that Dairy products – including cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and yogurt contributed significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to our diet. Diets high in fat and especially in saturated fat were shown to increase the risk of heart disease and other serious health problems. So as a population we all avoided the Dairy group of foods unless it was the low-fat variety.

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It is very common these days for people to have food intolerances such as lactose found in milk and also animal activists proclaiming that cow milking is inhumane. Whatever the reasons, for the broader population we are not getting enough calcium in our diets. We are now faced with people suffering from deficiencies in the types of vitamins and minerals that Dairy foods provide, such as calcium and protein.

I believe the tide could be changing. Maybe the experts back in the 1950s and 60s were onto something when they provided milk to children at schools? Our bone health is extremely important because bones are your body’s foundation, providing support and structure and giving protection to our organs. Our bones are constantly in a state of renewal, so building and maintaining bones is a lifelong matter.

The key to building and maintaining good bone health is including weight bearing exercise, calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt and vitamin D from safe sun exposure, foods or a supplement in our diets.

A great way to get more Dairy on your diet is to drink a cafe latte once a day.

A great way to get more Dairy in your diet is to drink a cafe latte once a day.

But not only that, research shows that having milk, yogurt and cheese every day in your diet is not linked to weight gain. Dairy foods are often cut out of our diet in the mistaken belief that they’re fattening. Another myth debunked!

From my own personal experience I undertook a bone density x-ray when I turned fifty which revealed that I may be a candidate for osteoporosis in my later years. A blood test also revealed that despite eliminating most Dairy foods from my diet I still had elevated cholesterol and was deficient in vitamin D.

Plenty of exercise and Vitamin D is crucial to maintaining bone health

Plenty of exercise and vitamin D is crucial to maintaining bone health

The drop in oestrogen levels that occurs around the time of menopause in our fifties results in increased bone loss. It is estimated that the average woman loses up to 10 per cent of her bone mass in the first five years after menopause.

As we know osteoporosis is a disease where bones become brittle and are at high risk of fracture. In Australia, osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in three men over the age of 60 years.

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So my immediate reaction to this was to increase the amount of calcium in my diet by re-instating Dairy foods into my eating plan, taking a vitamin D supplement and increasing the amount of exercise into my life. These days my blood tests are telling me a different story – I have now reduced my weight, cholesterol levels and I’m no longer vitamin D deficient.

Dairy Australia are conducting an initiative called Healthy Bones Action Week and challenging Australians of all ages to join their Fit Fab & 50 Challenge which involves:

1. Increase daily serves of calcium through milk, cheese or yoghurt;

2. Go for a walk or committing to some new form of regular exercise; and

3. Spend time outdoors to get more vitamin D.

Fit,Fab & 50 Challenge Facebook Image

If you’re 50 – or there about – join the free 7-day Challenge during Healthy Bones Action Week (1-7 August 2016) and boost your bone health so you can live the life you want! I for one will be joining this challenge because I certainly want to live a long and healthy life.

Facts in this article were sourced via Legendairy Australia

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By 50 Shades, July 19, 2016 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 12

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

12 Comments
  • seizetheday20
    July 19, 2016

    Great reminders Kathy. My Mum has osteoporosis, so I’m taking a calcium/Vit D supplement, as well as exercising every day and enjoying cheese when I can. I do remember drinking warm milk at school – ewww! Ours was flavoured, but the chocolate always went first, so you had to be quick or you’d be left with strawberry (everyone’s least fave milk flavour) :)

    • Kathy
      July 19, 2016

      My 85 year old Mum broke her hip last year and is very stooped and I had to convince her last year to take calcium supplements. She can be a bit stubborn at times and kept saying she has plenty of calcium in her diet. I’m pretty sure I’m on track with increasing dairy in my diet and the exercise and vitamin D from sunlight isn’t a problem. You were lucky you got flavoured milk at school – the ones I got were plain!

  • raehilhorst
    July 19, 2016

    Thanks Kathy, I can tick a yes to your recommendations except the Vitamin D tablets. I currently have tendonitis in my right bicep muscle which is going to take months to recover from, and my age doesn’t help I always tried to get the chocolate milk at school and was always disappointed when I missed out.

    • Kathy
      July 19, 2016

      That is good news Rae. Although I thought I was getting heaps of natural sunlight I was still vitamin D deficient. Go figure! I hope your tendonitis goes away soon Rae – what a nuisance!

  • Melissa and Brenden (@allaroundoz)
    July 19, 2016

    I do worry about my bone health as my older sister has had a hip fracture. I take Vitamin D daily now as I use soy milk mostly.

    • Kathy
      July 19, 2016

      It is good that you are “healthy bones” aware. I think we were all scared to include dairy products in our diets in fear of gaining weight or clogging our arteries. However it now appears it is ok to include some dairy in our daily eating plan. I am a little lactose intolerant so don’t drink a lot of milk, but I do love my yoghurt, cheese and butter. :)

  • Johanna A Castro (@JohannaACastro)
    July 20, 2016

    I’m also an advocate for dairy foods and I love them. I think having a bone density test would be a good idea, so thanks for that reminder too. Yay, that we’re both doing the Dairy Challenge, and can’t wait to swap notes at the end of the Action Week :)

    • Kathy
      July 20, 2016

      I think both our blogs have the word “50 or fifty” in them so we were targeted for this challenge. I am also an advocate for dairy foods, but sometimes milk upsets my tummy a bit so I have to be careful of how much I drink. I do love my yoghurt, cheese and butter however. Looking forward to seeing how we both go. :)

  • Monique@The Urban Mum
    July 21, 2016

    I have yearly bone density tests as I had my Thyroid removed in my ’20’s – although I am overdue for one AND I do not eat enough dairy. So thank you Kathy for this excellent article (& reminder). Xx

    • Kathy
      July 22, 2016

      I think we have all been frightened off dairy because it was considered to be high in fat. I don’t actually like the taste of milk so I disguise it in cappuccinos and fruit smoothies. Looking at my stooping Mum reminds me everyday that I need to keep up the dairy in my diet. I can’t afford to lose any more height! Thanks for dropping by Monique! :)

  • Janet Camilleri (@middleagedmama1)
    July 30, 2016

    I just had my first DXA scan, thankfully good news – my bones are doing great! If only my blood pressure and cholesterol levels were as good …

    • Kathy
      July 31, 2016

      That is good news Janet and I think it is very important to take these tests as we get older. Once you hit menopause some health issues can come to the fore. I have actually been able to decrease my cholesterol during the last 5 years and my blood pressure is spot on, so I must be doing something right! :)

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