Osteoporosis risk high among UAE women

Women between the ages of 19 to 50 need to get at least 1000mgs of calcium every day and at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun on hands, arms and face two to three times a week to make enough vitamin D.

Dubai: Women in the UAE do not get enough sunlight or calcium through their diets, which could lead to brittle bone fractures, doctors warn as World Osteoporosis Day was marked on Tuesday.

Women between the ages of 19 to 50 need to get at least 1000mgs of calcium every day and at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun on hands, arms and face two to three times a week to make enough vitamin D.

The lack of sunlight is because of cultural norms that require women in the region to dress modestly and cover themselves. Doctors also said bad dietary habits and lack of exercise are also responsible.

The warning signs of osteoporosis are a loss in height, with a hunched and stooped posture.

emarati-womenA bone density study done by a dairy company shows some interesting results. Joanne Todd, senior health platform manager for Fonterra Brands, said the study was done in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

It shows that two out of five women in these countries are at high risk of developing osteoporosis. “There is a need to create awareness and education [about the disease] and should be a priority in the healthcare system,” said Todd.

Most common fractures are of the hip and the spinal bones.

“It is an expensive disease to treat,” said Todd, noting that it is preventable. “Maintaining good bone health begins with good nutrition,” said the nutritionist.

“Sufficient nutrients, like calcium, vitamin D, protein, zinc and magnesium, are essential for the maintenance and development of strong bones. Compliment this with regular exercise, and a person can prevent their bones from breaking down with age.”