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Back to Symposium 2017

Nutrition and bone health across the lifespan

Kelsey M. Mangano Kelsey M. Mangano, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor
Nutrition Program Director
Department of Biomedical and Nutritional Sciences
University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and can lead to increased risk of fracture. Attaining peak bone mass in early life is key to preventing osteoporosis and related fractures later in life. In women, the incidence of osteoporotic fractures is higher than heart attacks, stroke and breast cancer combined. Therefore, it is imperative to identify risk factors associated with osteoporosis and to build public health strategies to improve bone health throughout the lifespan.  

Nutritional strategies to prevent osteoporosis have been identified and are of public health significance as these strategies are low risk, non-invasive and easily modifiable. Nutrition plays 3 important roles in attaining bone health throughout the lifespan: achievement of peak bone mass in childhood/adolescence; maintenance of bone mass during adulthood; minimizing bone loss during older age, particularly among post-menopausal women. 

Dairy foods provide more protein, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, zinc and phosphorus per calorie than any other food. These nutrients, as well as dairy foods themselves, have been shown to improve bone mass and potentially reduce the risk of fracture.

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