It may surprise you that taking in extra calcium does not make your bones stronger, even though lack of calcium in your diet can cause osteoporosis.

You have to do something else to make your bones pick up the extra calcium, such as taking hormones, or prescription bone strengthener pills, or lifting weights. A Harvard study shows that older women who lift weights have stronger bones. Those who exercise and do not do resistance training do not develop stronger bones. If you are a postmenopausal women, ask your doctor to order a bone density test. It your bones are weak, you may need to take female hormones or bone strengthening drugs such as Fosamax. You should definitely lift weights.

Resistance training and bone mineral density in women: a meta-analysis of controlled trials. GA Kelley, KS Kelley, ZV Tran. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 2001, Vol 80, Iss 1, pp 65-77. ddress Kelley GA, MGH, Inst Hlth Profess, Metaanalyt Res Grp, Grad Program Clin Invest, 101 Merrimac St, Room 1059B, Boston,MA 02114 USA

Checked 9/3/05

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