ANNOUNCER: When an older adult suffers a fracture or broken bone as a result of osteoporosis, it can be a life-changing event.
ABBY PERLMAN: Since my fracture about two years ago, I have stopped skiing, I have stopped running, I do not do step aerobics anymore.
ANNOUNCER: Abby Perlman found out she had osteoporosis after asking her doctor for a bone density test.
ABBY PERLMAN: The first time I asked for a bone density test, my doctor did not think it was necessary. The next year, when I went back for my annual physical, I asked her and she did agree. And when the results came back positive, she was as surprised as I was.
ANNOUNCER: Although osteoporosis occurs more frequently among older adults, it is not a natural part of aging.
RICHARD CARMONA, M.D.: Thirty years ago, doctors thought weak bones and osteoporosis were a natural part of aging. But today, we know that strong bones begin in childhood and even adults can take steps to keep their bones healthy.
ANNOUNCER: A recent report from the surgeon general, "Bone Health and Osteoporosis: What It Means to You," gives up-to-date information about osteoporosis and keeping your bones strong. One way to protect your bones is to exercise. Adults should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and the best kind for strong bones is weight-bearing exercise.
RICHARD CARMONA, M.D.: There's a great deal that Americans can do to protect themselves. Stay physically active as long as you possibly can. There's some physical activity that everybody can do. Take a walk, swim, ride a bike--whatever it is you like to do.
ANNOUNCER: You should also make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
RICHARD CARMONA, M.D.: Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Check in with your primary care provider-- make sure that you're taking in enough calcium to ensure strong bones.
ANNOUNCER: Abby realized that she had not been doing enough to protect her bones.
ABBY PERLMAN: I really wasn't doing very much to prevent osteoporosis. I wasn't taking calcium, I wasn't monitoring my vitamin D and I wasn't really focusing on how much dairy I ate. When the test results came back positive, I was very, very surprised. I couldn't believe that I had osteoporosis because I felt good and I looked good.
ANNOUNCER: Now, she exercises regularly and makes sure she gets enough calcium and vitamin D.
ABBY PERLMAN: I still remain very active. I walk almost every day, I use the machines at the gym, I take yoga, I lift weights. So even though I did have the fracture, there are many, many physical activities that I enjoy.
ANNOUNCER: To request a copy of "Bone Health and Osteoporosis: What It Means to You," call 1-800-624-2663 or visit the Web site at www.surgeongeneral.gov.