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Preventing Osteoporosis

How Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?

Reach your peak! Osteoporosis usually develops over the course of several decades and can be prevented or delayed by acquiring peak bone mass during childhood and adolescence, through appropriate diet and exercise. Peak bone mass usually occurs by age 25.

Four lifestyle choices that can help keep you and your bones healthy:

  1. Stay active. Bones become stronger and thicker in response to the forces exerted on them. The impact of running or walking, for example, strengthens our bones. Load-bearing exercise such as weight training can also stave off bone loss.
  2. Don’t smoke. Smoking is toxic to bones. ​See our smoking cessation program
  3. Drink in moderation. More than two drinks a day on most days is associated with poorer bone health.
  4. Get sufficient calcium and vitamin D. Both are essential to bone health. Calcium gives bones their hardness and strength, and vitamin D, a hormone, helps the body absorb and retain calcium. Several studies have shown that a high proportion of women who suffer hip fractures are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D can be obtained through supplements and is synthesized in the skin during sun exposure.

Recommended Daily Calcium Intake

The daily intake of calcium needed to maintain bone strength increases as you get older.

Women over 50 and men over 70: 1,200 mg of calcium daily

Women and men under 50: 1,000 mg of calcium daily

Examples of calcium-rich foods


Produce (serving size 8 ounces) Dairy
Frozen collard greens360 mg Milk (8 ounces)300 mg
Broccoli60 mg Yogurt (6 ounces)310 mg
Kale 100 mg Cottage cheese (4 ounces) 105 mg
Soy beans175 mg Ice cream, vanilla (8 ounces)  85 mg
Bok choy160 mg American cheese (1 ounce)195 mg
Figs, dried (2)65 mg Feta cheese (4 ounces)140 mg
Orange55 mg Parmesan cheese (1 tbsp)55 mg
Seafood (serving size 3 ounces) Fortified Foods
Sardines (canned)325 mg Almond milk (8 ounces) 450 mg
Salmon (canned)180 mg Soy milk (8 ounces)300 mg
Shrimp (canned)125 mg Rice milk (8 ounces)300 mg
Orange juice (8 ounces)300 mg
Tofu (4 ounces)205 mg


Calcium values and daily intake information provided by the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Boning Up on Osteoporosis

Deborah Kado, MD, MS, director of the Osteoporosis Clinic at UC San Diego Health, answers questions about the role of calcium and vitamin D in preventing bone fractures. Read the full article

Preventing A Second Fracture

UC San Diego bone health experts help ensure that anyone who incurs a hip fracture as a result of a fall from a standing height or less will receive:

  • A fracture risk assessment.
  • Treatment (if necessary).
  • Continued care from an orthopedist and osteoporosis specialist.

This service is instrumental in the prevention of secondary and subsequent fractures.

Appointments & Referrals

Osteoporosis Clinic Locations

La Jolla



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