BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 28 June, 2002, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
'Scientific trial saved my bones'
Bone scan
Osteoporosis causes bones to become brittle and weak
Eating better diets can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis in elderly women, according to scientists.

A recent study found that by getting underweight women to eat more healthily it is possible to drastically cut the number of hip fractures suffered in the UK each year.

Scientists now hope to use the data to see whether a better diet for children will reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis.


Joan Haley is delighted to be a stone heavier, because now she has a better chance of protecting her bones.

When the 79-year-old retired shop worker enrolled on the St. Thomas' Hospital trial she weighed seven and a half stone and was unaware that she suffered from osteoporosis.


I'm relieved I was diagnosed before it was too late

Joan Haley

Better diet

Her GP told her that doctors were looking for underweight women over 70 to see what impact a better diet could have on their bone density.

After enrolling Mrs Haley said she had been given the surprising news that she had osteoporosis herself.

"I was quite surprised as I'd always been quite an active person.

"But I'm relieved I was diagnosed before it was too late.

Bone density scan
One in three women are affected by osteoporosis

"Otherwise I might not have been aware of the osteoporosis until I'd fallen and suffered from a broken bone."

With the help of a dietician Mrs Haley was advised to alter her diet to include more protein and calcium rich foods such as chicken and fish.

"I put on about a stone in weight and I felt much better and fitter.

"I don't feel quite as vulnerable now because I know that I can try and do things to help the condition such as eating foods rich in calcium."

Osteoporosis Facts
It causes bones to become brittle and weak
It affects one woman in three and one man in 12
It costs the NHS and estimated 900million each year

Mrs Haley was one of seventy-one women who took part in the two and a half year Action Research study which looked into cutting the 60,000 painful and disabling hip fractures suffered in the UK each year.

Monitor

Lead researcher Dr Geeta Hampson, of the department of chemical pathology at St Thomas's Hospital London, said the volunteers were split into two groups.

The control group was given calcium and vitamin D supplements only and the second group of women got dietary advice and increased their protein and calorie intake.

By the end of the year the women in group 2 had gained about 2.5kg and increased their fat and lean mass and their mineral content.

This correlated with a significant reduction in bone loss and an increase in hip bone density.

Dr Hampson, a senior lecture in chemical pathology, said "Now that our findings are positive, we would anticipate applying this in primary care."

Another study in Manchester is now looking into whether children who follow both a healthy diet and take plenty of exercise have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis in later life.

See also:

03 May 02 | Health
26 Mar 02 | Health
12 Mar 02 | Health
15 Dec 01 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes