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Unhealthy eating habits and inactivity main causes of Osteoporosis

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Emirates Osteoporosis Society organizes an awareness event for women at Mamzar Park in cooperation with Dubai Health Authority and with the support of Nestlé

Dubai, UAE - 17 February 2010:- More than 70 ladies turned up at the Osteoporosis awareness event organized on February 10th, by the Emirates Osteoporosis Society, in cooperation with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), at Mamzar Park, Dubai. The event was held with the support of Nestlé Middle East as part of their "Nestlé Strong and Healthy Bones" initiative. .

The event aimed to promote balanced nutrition and healthy lifestyles as the best measures to prevent Osteoporosis. Recent studies conducted by the UAE University show that UAE residents have lower bone density compared to people from other countries, mainly due to insufficient calcium intake in the diet, and lack of sun exposure which results in deficiency of Vitamin D - necessary for absorbing calcium in the bones. Studies also highlight physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle as major causes of low bone density.

Commenting on the event, Dr. Abdul Rahim Al Suhaili, Consultant and Head of Nuclear Medicine at Dubai Hospital and Head of the Emirates Osteoporosis Society, said, "The Society has been actively organizing such awareness programs in Dubai since 1999, with the aim to help the public understand their bone health requirements. Today we are focused on helping them prevent Osteoporosis through balanced nutrition that includes milk as the main source of Calcium, in addition to regular physical activity.

"We had invited bone health and nutrition specialists to advise participants, give recommendations and answer questions. In addition, we organized the program in a way to reflect a balance between theory and practice by including, in addition to lectures, a typical breakfast meal rich in calcium, vitamins and minerals. Our program also included a 1-km walkathon within the park premises in order to encourage participants to kick start a healthy and active lifestyle, and we concluded the event with a free bone mineral density test for all participants," Dr. Al Suhaili added. "We are looking forward to organizing similar awareness programs throughout the year so that more women can benefit from the effort."

At the event, nutritionist Christina Abdo delivered a nutrition and lifestyle session titled "Towards a Healthy Life: Your Guide to Strong and Healthy Bones", where she explained the various phases of bone development and emphasized ways to maintain strong and healthy bones throughout life. "Our bones go through an accelerated development phase during adolescence years and reach peak density at age 30. This is when they start to lose mass. If we do not adequately compensate for this loss, our bone density will gradually decline, which would result in a weakening of the bones, leading to Osteoporosis."

She also pointed out that it is very important to follow a healthy and balanced daily diet to help build and maintain bones. "A healthy diet should include all the nutrients that are essential to bone health, namely calcium, high quality proteins, Vitamin D, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin C. Calcium, according to studies, is best absorbed from milk, in comparison to other food sources," Abdo said.

The program featured a second lecture by Dr. Hanan Sheikh Ibrahim, Consultant at the American Hospital, Dubai, focusing on Osteoporosis types, symptoms and risks.

The "Nestlé Strong and Healthy Bones" initiative, launched by Nestlé NESVITA® pro-Bones in 2009 in cooperation with the Pan Arab Osteoporosis Society, supports several similar programs and activities to help spread awareness to the largest possible number of Arab women on bone health and Osteoporosis prevention. Past activities covered Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, with many additional activities planned for 2010 in several other Arab countries.