Healthy Bones Action Week

Female foodies have a bone to pick with Aussie women: get serious about osteoporosis during Healthy Bones Action Week 

Australia’s most vibrant and influential female foodies are flexing their culinary muscle, warning women about a stealthy danger that threatens the best years of their lives.

Maggie Beer, Lyndey Milan, Kate McGhie, Christine Manfield and Catherine Saxelby are among the food gurus spearheading Healthy Bones Action Week’s Fit, Fab & 50 Challenge from 1 to 7 August.

The Week highlights the painful and potentially crippling effects of osteoporosis, calling on women to make a commitment to bone-healthy food, activity and sunshine.

Determined to make a big noise about the silent disease that strikes without any prior symptoms, the culinary experts want women of all ages, especially those heading into menopause, to realise the benefits of dairy foods and embrace the white side.

To spread the word, they have compiled a selection of inspiring, mouth-watering recipes to get you on your way to upping your bone-boosting calcium, while also sharing some of their own insights and experiences around healthy living and loving life.

The Fit, Fab and 50 cookbook is free to everyone who registers for the Challenge, and by signing up for the Fit, Fab & 50 Challenge women can kick-start their journey to better bone health. Each day during the Week participants will be supported with healthy eating, exercise and wellbeing with prizes and incentives along the way.

Endocrinologist Dr Sonia Davison, from Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, says that while Healthy Bones Action Week is designed to promote a positive and lively health message, the underlying agenda is urgent, especially as Australia’s population ages.

After menopause, bone density falls quickly as the body’s oestrogen levels drop, and women who want to try new adventures and continue to enjoy life are putting their lifestyle at risk by ignoring bone health.

Virtually all Australian women over 50 are not getting their daily four serves from the dairy food group needed to keep their bones strong, as recommended by the updated Australian Dietary Guidelines.

“One million Australians are estimated to have osteoporosis, and six million are estimated to have osteopenia, which is mild bone thinning that can lead to osteoporosis,’’ Dr Davison says. “Many of these Australians are not aware of this silent process occurring in their bodies. Women underestimate the severity of falls and fractures which evidence shows lead to a loss of independence and a faster track to nursing home admission, especially after a bad hip fracture.”

Leading food writer and chef Kate McGhie grew up on a farm in Victoria’s Western District. She says dairy is in her DNA and she is helping to lead the charge toward a bone-smart food revolution.

“Nothing beats tongue tingling yoghurt, the silkiness of cream, the tang of buttermilk and the choice of cheese,” she says.

And food icon Maggie Beer has a simple message for Australian women.

“Just start walking, it’s free! The beauty of nature ensures daily walks never feel like exercise and make every difference to your day and your bones,” she says. “I spend time in my garden, not only as a way to wind down, but also to boost my vitamin D levels.”

Dr Davison said some basic ways to reduce your chance of being struck down by the pain of osteoporosis include:

  • Aim for four serves a day from the dairy food group which includes calcium-rich milk, cheese and yoghurt. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that nearly three-quarters of women don’t meet their calcium requirements.
  • Try to get a small dose of sun every day as vitamin D helps increase absorption of calcium.
  • Work on building up your bone strength to avoid the chance of a fracture. Keep active by doing some weight-bearing exercise that you enjoy—it could simply be walking the dog for 30 minutes a few times a week or dancing with the grandkids. (Swimming and cycling are not considered weight-bearing exercise.)

Register online for the free Fit, Fab & 50 Challenge and to receive an online copy of the free Fit, Fab & 50 Cookbook.

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