Expert recommends triad of practices for preventing osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is on the rise both in the U.S. and abroad. In Warrington, UK, a recent article in the local Guardian reported that the town's number of people living with osteoporosis has jumped from around 1,700 to nearly 2,900 in just two years. Similarly, less drastic jumps in diagnoses of the disease have occurred across the U.S., prompting many health agencies to publicize the ways in which individuals can reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

An editorial in the Humble Tribune has addressed the basics of prevention. Physician Charles Campbell, the article's author, wrote that there are three relatively easy habits that Americans can practice in order to reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

The first is regular exercise, particularly any activity that involves some weight or resistance training. Multiple studies have shown that using one's muscles and skeleton as a load-bearing system can help the body maintain adequate bone density. Conversely, engaging in little or no exercise may hasten the onset of osteoporosis.

The second recommendation Campbell made is getting one's daily allowance of calcium. Along with vitamin D, calcium is the most important mineral for bone strength and density. Without an adequate supply of calcium, bones become porous and significantly weaker, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

This weakening of the skeleton's structural integrity can drastically increase the risk of fractures later in life, the organization adds. Campbell suggested consuming between 800 and 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day. Aside from vitamins, calcium may be found in foods like milk, cheese and other dairy products.

Finally, the columnist said that vitamin D supplementation is essential for reducing the risk of bone loss. The National Institutes of Health recommends getting between 15 and 20 micrograms of the vitamin each day. Without vitamin D, the body cannot effectively process calcium.

These three simple lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce one's likelihood of developing osteoporosis, especially if they are adopted prior to reaching maturity.

More than 44 million Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.