Calcium Intake and Physical Activity

DEP 2004 Life Cycle

Osteoporosis Homework Assignment

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I always try to connect our course to whatever I am doing or observing on a daily basis, and one thing I enjoy is watching skilled athletes perform in almost any sport. Many athletes suffer bone fractures (sometimes severe) and yet they go on to impressive performances, often with just a few months of recovery time. What does it take to have strong bones that can recover fully and quickly from fractures?  In the Physical Development module, I have posted a New York Times Personal Health article about osteoporosis, and how different athletic activities impact the likelihood of osteoporosis and bone problems. For this homework assignment, I want you to read the article and evaluate your lifestyle as it applies to risk of osteoporosis. Specifically:

Part 1: Diet.  As you will read in the article, a diet rich in calcium is essential for good bone health. Do you eat a bone-healthy diet? For this part of the assignment:

·  List everything you eat in one typical 24-hour period, then look up the calcium content for each food. The article provides a link to an online calculator of calcium content in a variety of foods. There are many other online calculators as well, and between them you should be able to find most of the foods you eat (hint – if you can’t find a food listed anywhere, it probably doesn’t have much calcium in it). To find other online calculators, simply type “calcium content in foods” in Google, and you’ll see several of them, including one for vegan diets. You might also find calcium content on the Nutrition Facts label of processed foods, although this will be listed in % of Daily Values, requiring you to do a little bit of arithmetic. List each food you consume, how much, and how much calcium (in milligrams) you got from each food. For example, your list might start with:

2 slices whole wheat toast  – 60 mg.

1 tablespoon butter  – 17 mg (this took a lot of digging to find, which I thought was strange because butter is a dairy product)

1 tablespoon grape jelly  – 15 mg (also took some digging, then I remembered to just look on the jar)

vente Starbucks nonfat latte  – 40 mg.  (I am assuming 1 oz of skim milk in my latte)

As you can see, you’ll need to do some detective work, and some estimating, but give it your best shot. 

·  Add up all the calcium you consumed that day, and discuss how you are doing toward the recommended calcium intake for your gender and age.  If you are well below where you should be, what can you realistically do to improve your calcium intake, and hence your bone health? Don’t worry about showing me that you eat a lousy diet – I’ve seen it all, including someone who ate nothing but Cheetos and Red Bull for a 24 hour period. But try to select a typical day for you – you’ll learn more about your bone health if you take this assignment seriously.

Part 2: Exercise.  For the same typical day that you analyzed your diet, also analyze your physical activities. 

·  There are no calculations similar to what you do for calcium intake, but list your activity during a typical week and discuss it in terms of amount of time spent in each activity, amount of time doing impact activity (in which your bones are resisting gravity with pressure and hence producing bone) the extent to which your activity is continuous versus starting and stopping (as you will read in the article), and any other aspects of your physical activity that are relevant to the building of strong bones.

·  Add up all the activity you do in a typical week (minutes), and discuss how you are doing toward the recommended physical activity recommendations for your gender and age.

·  Discuss your physical activity in terms of how it may impact your bone health

*If you do not exercise in a typical week, that is ok. Discuss 1) How much is recommended for your gender and age, and 2) How incorporating certain activities into your daily routine might affect your bone health based on the article you read.

When you are finished listing and discussing the two sections (diet and physical activity), submit your written report through the submit button. 

I don’t have an expectation on word count or page count. You should have a few sentences per discussion point, plus the lists. Write however much it takes to complete the assignment satisfactorily. 

I hope you enjoy this assignment!