Doctors suggest osteoporosis can affect young people with poor diet

Experts say that osteoporosis no longer exclusively affects the elderly, and that poor diet and lack of exercise are putting many younger people at risk for the condition.

Junk food and sedentary lifestyles are putting young people of both genders at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis. Some of the factors that increase this risk are prolonged hormonal imbalance, excessive use of medicines like steroids, lack of vitamin D, small bone frame, smoking and consumption of alcohol and caffeine.

"Women who take birth control pills during their reproductive years may reduce their risk of osteoporosis developing later in life, probably because of the estrogen that many oral contraceptives contain. Estrogen replacement therapy helps protect women against bone loss," said Dinesh Kansal, obstetrician and gynecologist at Dr B.L. Kapur Memorial Hospital.

Regular exercise and adequate calcium intake in the form of dairy products and green, leafy vegetables may help in preventing the disease, according to Ravi Mohan Bagga, a senior orthopedic consultant at the hospital.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 44 million Americans are at elevated risk for bone fracture.