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Exercise, Calcium-Rich Foods Recommended

June 26, 1986

Working women can take advantage of summer's long days and warm nights to schedule the exercise that physicians recommend to help prevent the bone-debilitating disease osteoporosis.

"Weight-bearing exercise stimulates cell activity in the bones, keeping the remodeling process active and building denser, stronger bones," said bone specialist Christopher Cann of the University of California, San Francisco, and the Dairy Council of California.

Women who exercise have denser bone mass and are at less risk for osteoporosis, a leading cause of death in women, according to a 1982 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Physicians recommend exercise, eating calcium-rich foods, stopping smoking and limited alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

The average young American woman gets only two-thirds of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. One additional eight-ounce glass of milk daily--or the equivalent in yogurt or cheese--would be enough to meet the RDA.

Building bone mass is especially critical for pre-menopausal women, many of whom work and have difficulty finding time to exercise. After menopause, women stop producing the estrogen that helps prevent calcium loss from the bones.

Cann offered some easy weight-watching exercises to work into summer schedules, including walking, jogging, tennis, biking, aerobics, racquetball, volleyball, softball or basketball. Physicians recommend that younger women work up to at least 30 minutes of continuous exercise daily.

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