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Don't be bone idle - look after your bones.

Osteoporosis ranks second only to cardiovascular disease as the world's main healthcare concern, according to the World Health Organisation.

One in three women in the Middle East are at risk of developing the disease, which causes brittle bones.

Some women may argue they are doing their bit by drinking milk every day. While it is true that having a diet that is rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, zinc and protein is key to fighting the disorder, regular weight-bearing exercise is just as important.

Dairy nutrition products firm Anlene recently held a 14-hour keep fit extravaganza at Dubai Mall to highlight the importance of exercise in the prevention of osteoporosis.

During the 'Move for Bones' event, fitness experts gave instruction and information on a range

ways to exercise, including taking fun classes such as pilates and Zumba. Dubai-based British national team triathlete Jessica Josselin, an ambassador of Anlene, took part in the awareness day and she advised: "If you're not building up your bone strength they can become weak, making them prone to painful fractures and muscle weakness - this is particularly true in women - and this is osteoporosis.

"Bone mass, which is the measure of bone strength, is built throughout life and peaks at age 30, so women need to start looking after their bone health from a young age.

"They need calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones and to focus on weight-bearing exercises like walking, running or yoga."

Ultrafit Jessica - who starts her training day at 3am with punishing bike rides - added: "Being an athlete, exercise is, of course, part of my daily routine but all women should be incorporating routines into their lifestyles.

"In addition to good nutrition, it is the most effective way to prevent the onset of the disease." Low bone density, which increases the risk of osteoporosis, is rising at an alarming rate across the Gulf region, according to Dr Humeira Badsha, a rheumatology specialist at Al Bir Arthritis and Bone Clinic in Dubai.

People need to be more aware of the issues surrounding it. She said: "Most people are neither achieving recommended daily intakes of essential bone nutrients, mainly calcium and vitamin D, nor doing enough physical activities. Weight-bearing exercises build strong bone tissue which in return, helps protect the joints from serious injuries."

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 13, 2012
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