Factors Which Increase the Risk of Osteoporosis and Fractures

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

Osteoporosis (porous bone) is a condition in which bones become weak and can break easily from a minor fall, or in serious cases, from something as simple as a sneeze or bumping into furniture. The increased susceptibility to fracture is a result of structural deterioration and loss of bone mass, especially in regions of the hip, spine, and wrist. However, the condition can affect any bone in the body. While often diagnosed in older individuals, osteoporosis can develop at any age. Approximately 44 million Americans (55% of people 50 years of age and older) are at risk for this public health problem. Estimates indicate that 10 million individuals already have osteoporosis, and 34 million more have low bone density which increases their risk for future osteoporosis and broken bones.

Although diet alone will not cure osteoporosis, it can help halt progression of the disease. If you suffer from osteoporosis, talk with your doctor about a diet that provides enough minerals and vitamins for your health needs. Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, fluoride, and vitamin D are  needed to form and stabilize the structure of bone. Deficiency of these nutrients may cause bones to weaken over time, whereas adequate levels may help prevent further bone damage.

In addition to increasing your intake of foods rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, fluoride, and vitamin D, try to eliminate factors that contribute to and worsen osteoporosis (risk factors), such as alcohol, caffeine, salt (sodium), and soda consumption. A soy-rich diet may benefit some people with osteoporosis.

Engage in weight-bearing physical activity each day, such as walking, running, dancing, and weight training. This promotes the deposition of dietary minerals into your bones. Furthermore, when muscles work, they pull on the bones, enabling both your muscles and bones to grow stronger.

Before you begin any new diet or exercise program, talk with your doctor about your current medical history.

Factors which increase the risk of bone loss and subsequent osteoporosis:

  • Age older than 65
  • Female gender
  • Caucasian, Asian, or Hispanic heritage
  • Being small and thin (having low weight for height)
  • Missing periods (amenorrhea)
  • History of fracture or broken bones
  • Family history of osteoporosis or fracture
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Use of certain medicines like oral glucocorticoids and some anticonvulsants
  • Previous use of corticosteroids
  • Excessive intake of protein, sodium, and/or caffeine
  • Alcohol consumption in excess
  • Consumption of sweetened or artificially sweetened soda and drinks containing phosphoric acid: These also promote dental cavities, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Poor nutrition, especially insufficient intake of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, fluoride, and vitamin D
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Thyroid or parathyroid hyperfunction
  • Celiac disease
  • Inactive lifestyle or prolonged bed rest
  • Estrogen deficiency in women (amenorrhea or menopause, especially early or surgically induced); testosterone deficiency in men



  1. DeBruyne, Linda Kelly; Pinna, Kathryn; Whitney, Ellie. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Thomson Wadsworth: California. 2008: pp. 248-250.
  2. “Diet Cure for Osteoporosis.” eHow.com (Source: http://www.ehow.com/way  5367876  diet-cure-osteoporosis.html#ixzz1nALKUVGg)
  3. “How the Foods You Eat Affect Your Bones.” National Osteoporosis Foundation: 1150 17th Street, NW Suite 850 Washington, DC 20036. Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved. (Source: www.nof.org/aboutosteoporosis/prevention/foodandbones)
  4. National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Resource Center: Information about the prevention, early detection, and treatment of osteoporosis and related bone diseases. 2005.


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: