Best Bones Forever: Tweens and Teens Making a Difference with Bone Loss Awareness and Prevention

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide
  • Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could slow or even stop the progression of osteoporosis?  Well the Best Bones ForeverTM web site, under the direction of Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, is trying to do just that by raising awareness of bone loss in our tween and teenage girls.  We know that our young girls achieve approximately 90% of their bone mass by the age of 18, so it's particularly important to motivate, educate, and support this group that is working so hard to spread the word among this age of girls.  Secretary Sebelius explains, "we want girls to know that if you're older than nine, now's your time!  Building strong bones now will help you stand tall for a lifetime."  Let's look at how this campaign started and celebrate their One Year Anniversary!

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    History and Facts for Best Bones Forever

    North Las Vegas, NV (September 01, 2009) /PRNewswire/ - "U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced a new campaign, called Best Bones Forever!, designed to improve bone health and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. Research shows that bone fracture rates are increasing, and few adolescent girls get the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D-the building blocks for strong bones."  "A recent study showed that 70 percent of kids in the U.S. had below-normal levels of vitamin D, with deficiencies increasing as kids age from childhood to adolescence."  This is a startling percentage of D deficient kids, and we need to turn this around now, by getting D and calcium into our children's diets.  Vitamin D deficiency is a major risk factor for osteoporosis and osteopenia. You can see why this is an urgent call to action for kids, parents, and educators.

     

    What You Need to Know

     

    Prevention starts with a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, weight bearing and bone-strengthening exercises.  Spend time outside with your BFFs and do fun things for exercise that will build strong bones.  Look for foods that are high in calcium and D, which can be found on the Best Bones Forever website if you need some ideas.  The daily recommendation for calcium intake is 1,300 milligrams per day for adolescent and teens age 9 to18, through a combination of food and supplements and plenty of vitamin D. Guidelines for kids physical activity is 60 minutes per day, and three days of bone-strengthening activity.  Parents should start a routine of physical activity with their children to start a lifelong habit of getting daily exercise that will carry through beyond their adult years.  Some other things this web site has to offer.

     

    This website provides a great place for girls to talk to one another, give advice, get information, offer help to their friends and ask questions about the best ways to strengthen their bones.  Check out Best Bones Forever.

     

    The site also has a section for parents where they can connect with other parents for advice and to discuss what they plan to do with their girls to help foster good bone health.

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    The web site is loaded with cool stuff for users.  You can order gear like, hats, t-shirts, exskullmation point tattoos and many other cool things.  Educational material is also available in bulk for free to teachers, school nurses, health educators, nonprofits, etc.  Some of the items available to order are journals, posters, parent brochures, book covers, tattoos, and magnets. 

     

    It's been a year since the launch of this program and web site Best Bones Forever, and we want to tell you about all the wonderful accomplishments these girls and The Department of Health and Human Services have done to advance awareness and education in honor of their one year anniversary.

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    Top Achievements Over the Past Year

    • Getting recognized for their hard work by winning a Telly Award and a Summit Creative Award
    • Partnering with amazing teens like former Miss Teen Michigan Elizabeth Hawthorne whose platform is Best Bones Forever!
    • Sending their Skelegirls across the country-they've already made appearances in 16 states, and cities like Seattle, Dallas, DC, Phoenix, Orlando, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas, Birmingham, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Baltimore, Spokane, Hartford, and more!
    • Racking up lots of media coverage across the country-including our favorite-a shout-out on Teen Vogue's website
    • Distributing over 1 million BBF! journals, tattoos, magnets, posters and more  to girls across the country

    If you feel the way we all do, then it's time to do our best to prevent all forms of bone loss by focusing on our younger girls through education and support on bone loss.  If we can get our children to take proactive steps to achieve good bone density, at a young age, we can prevent the number of fractures each year and lower the incidence of those who acquire this disease.  A world without osteoporosis would be a great place and it's these adolescences and teenagers we need to focus on since they still have a great chance at preventing this with the recommended protocols of exercise, calcium and vitamin D.  Let's not saddle our girls and boys with this by not taking a proactive role in their health, since they are our hope and future!

     

    Congratulations to all who've taken part in the Best Bones Forever campaign and web site.  We all want to thank you for your superb job in getting this important information out to the country and the wonderful job you've done with your excellent work to raise awareness for this debilitating disease, over the last year.  Osteoporosis is often called a "pediatric disease with geriatric consequences."  This is so true, and it's why this program is so extremely important!   

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    Thanks to all those unsung hero's who work tirelessly to make the Best Bones Forever, site and campaign, an ongoing superb educational program for parents, children and teachers a great success.

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    Partners with Best Bones Forever and The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

     

    Best Bones Forever! is a public-private partnership that brings together organizations from across the country. Founding partner, National Osteoporosis Foundation, tops a partner roster that also includes Girl Scouts, Girls Inc., Action for Healthy Kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, National Association of School Nurses, the National Institutes of Health, Women's Sports Foundation, and more. For more information on campaign partners and activities, go to the campaign Web site for girls at www.bestbonesforever.gov or for parents at www.bestbonesforever.gov/parents (PRNewswire Sept. 1, 2009)

Published On: September 11, 2010