The National Dairy Council (NDC), in association with Cappagh Hospital Foundation, has teamed up with leading racehorse trainer Jessica Harrington to raise awareness about bone health ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on 20th October.
The most common bone condition in Ireland is osteoporosis, with approximately 300,000 people over 50 years estimated to have the condition. However, it is often referred to as a ‘silent disease’ as it can go unnoticed, without symptoms, until a fracture occurs. In fact, only about 15% of people with osteoporosis get diagnosed. (ref 1)
Jessica Harrington is one of the world’s leading horse trainers and the most successful female trainer ever at Cheltenham. Before becoming a horse trainer, she represented Ireland on the world stage as a three-day event rider. Jessica is 73 and leads a very active lifestyle, as well as consuming a balanced diet, which includes a variety of fruit and vegetables and incorporates her recommended 3 servings from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group each day. She says…
“I have always lived a very active life through working with horses and training all my life so I am in good shape for a 73 year old woman. As you get older you need to be conscious of your bones and the risk of fractures becomes more paramount. There are certain nutrients which play specific roles in the health of our bones, including calcium, protein, phosphorus and vitamin D. Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese provide many of these key nutrients (calcium, protein, phosphorous – and vitamin D in fortified dairy products). As well as a ‘bone-friendly’ diet, I keep pretty fit with weight-bearing, resistance-style exercises which are particularly important for bone and muscle health. I get a lot of brisk waking in around the race tracks and my grounds every day so it keeps me very active“.
Although women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, it also affects men and even children. Osteoporosis is more common in white or Asian women older than 50 years of age, but osteoporosis can occur in almost any person at any age. While our bone health and strength is determined to a large extent by factors outside of our control such as genetics, gender and age; there are factors that we can control such as our diet and physical activity.
James Cashman, Orthopaedic Surgeon, National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh says:
“To maintain bone health, it is critical to engage in weight-bearing exercise, in order to stimulate good bone formation in our younger years; and for maintaining a healthy bone mineral density into our later years. Good nutrition is also essential to provide the building blocks needed for optimal bone health. The inclusion of dairy foods as part of a bone-friendly lifestyle is recognised by leading Osteoporosis authorities both nationally and internationally.”
To coincide with the campaign there is a comprehensive website at www.mindyourbones.ie which includes useful information on bones and the musculoskeletal system, details on other common bone conditions such as Arthritis, Scoliosis and Sarcopenia, and a section on dispelling the myths associated with these conditions. Is also includes tips and advice from the expert surgeons at Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital.
Top Tips throughout Life
- Maintain a healthy body weight – Being either underweight or overweight can have a negative impact on musculoskeletal health. Being very thin or losing weight quickly can result in a low muscle mass (see sarcopenia). Alternatively, being overweight increases pressure on joints such as the knees, hips and back, thereby increasing the risk of pain and injury.
- Good Nutrition – A balanced diet which provides adequate nutrients, including calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D, are essential for musculoskeletal health.
- Stay Strong – Weight-bearing, resistance-style exercises are particularly important for bone and muscle health – these include activities where your body must work against a force, such as gravity. Examples include skipping, running, tennis, dancing, brisk hill walking or simply climbing stairs.
- Stretching – Exercises such as stretching, Pilates or yoga can be particularly beneficial for posture and supple joints. Stronger core muscles (abdominals and back) improve balance, helping to prevent falls.
- Smoking and Alcohol – Refrain from smoking and if you consume alcohol, do so in moderation.
- If concerned – Speak to your healthcare practitioner (GP, Chartered Physiotherapist, Nurse, Consultant).
Cathy Currran, Communications Manager, National Dairy Council
+353 1 290 2518 | firstname.lastname@example.org