A routine visit to her local doctor changed Nicola Smith’s life forever. At the young age of 29 she had joined the many thousands of Australian women who have osteoporosis.
An active and successful businesswoman, Nicola had the bones of a 60-year-old — weak and susceptible to fracture.
‘I didn’t think that I could get osteoporosis, I didn’t realise the impact my poor diet could have on my bones,’ she said.
‘Although I was doing regular exercise, my calcium intake was low, my diet was poor, and I wasn’t building my bone strength.’
Nicola isn’t alone, only a quarter of Australian women are getting the calcium and exercise they need for bone health.
‘Learning about my condition was a defining moment in my life — I was reassured that I could fight this disease, but it should never have come to that,’ she said.
Now, 8 years after her diagnosis Nicola is the face of National Healthy Bones Week and is urging all Australian women to protect their bones for life.
Nicola now consumes a calcium-rich diet eating low-fat dairy foods and enjoys a regular exercise routine that includes a weight bearing and strengthening regime. The result is that her bones are dramatically strengthened.
‘I want to encourage people to make sure their bones are healthy, which is easily done — a calcium rich diet and regular exercise is the key,’ she said.
According to Osteoporosis Australia’s chief executive officer Judy Stenmark there are 2 simple steps that can help to build strong bones.
‘Reducing your risk is as simple as eating 3 serves of calcium rich foods, such as dairy foods, each day. Combine this with regular exercise and your bones will thank you,’ she said.
Last Reviewed: 31 July 2002