SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Oct. 20, 2004 – In a recent report issued by the U.S. Surgeon General’s office, young women (starting in their early 20s) are being warned they, too, are susceptible to early stages of osteoporosis. Osteopenia, the precursor to the bone-crippling disease typical in post-menopausal women, is called the “young women’s epidemic.” The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s non-profit fitness advocate, supports the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation that young women can reduce their risk of osteopenia through proper diet and exercise.
According to the report, the biggest risk factors for osteopenia are heredity (mother or grandmother has osteoporosis), inactivity, extreme dieters, smokers and women weighing less than 127 lbs. Weight is a risk when a woman’s body mass index (BMI) is not appropriate for her height and the amount of fat needed for healthy bones is not available. A proper exercise routine that incorporates strength training will help build stronger bones.
“To sustain stronger bones, at-risk women should incorporate weight-bearing exercises into their fitness routines to encourage bone growth and prevent bone loss,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, ACE chief exercise physiologist. “‘Bone-loading’ or exercises that twist, bend, stretch or compress bones, can strengthen common at-risk areas including the upper shoulder, spine and forearm at the wrist. Lack of exercise is an all-too-common risk that can be easily prevented in young women.”
Dr. Bryant says bone-loading exercises and eating a high-calcium, high-fiber, low-fat diet is essential to building stronger bones. Preventative measures should start during the early teen years. Contrary to popular belief, osteoporosis is not an old woman’s disease. In reality, it is a disease process that begins relatively early in life but does not manifest itself until later in life. Young women should consult a certified fitness professional to begin a properly designed exercise program that includes reasonable strength training.
Review ACE’s Fit Fact™ “Preventing Osteoporosis Now” to learn more about avoiding bone loss at any age www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.cfm?itemid=39.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s “workout watchdog,” ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at http://www.acefitness.org/default.aspx.