We’ve all heard “them bones, them bones need calcium”, but doctors are now urging patients more than ever to consume sufficient levels of calcium for healthy bones. Not only is this could for your health, it also leads to major savings in healthcare costs.
Boosting calcium intake through increases in dairy food consumption could contribute to reducing the risk of osteoporotic bone fractures. A study has been published in the journal Osteoporosis International entitled ‘An Example of Assessing the Health-Economic Impact of Food Products’, estimates the beneficial impact of dairy food consumption in terms of health outcomes and cost.
The ‘nutrition economics’ study took place in the Netherlands, France and Sweden. It calculated that for everyone over 50 to achieve the Recommended Daily Intake of 1200-1300mg calcium, it would cost an extra €0.44, €0.64 and €0.68 in food products per person a day in the Netherlands, France and Sweden respectively. But the study found that this strategy could potentially prevent 2,023, 455 and 132 hip fractures per year in France, Sweden and the Netherlands respectively. This could save €129 million, €34 million and €6 million in each of the three countries.
Osteoporosis affects 21% of all women over the age of 50 and it results in more than 3 million fractures a year in Europe, mainly in the hip, forearm and spine. Aside from the obvious suffering that that this disease causes, osteoporosis is also expensive. It is estimated that the total financial burden in 2010 in the EU was €30.7 billion.
Food habits must be changed to help reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures. Even at a young age, people must ensure there are plenty of dairy products in their diet. By establishing good food habits in young people, it’s likely that this will last throughout their lives, and encourage healthy bones.