Healthy Bones Australia held an intimate media event with representatives from some of Australia’s leading magazines – including Cosmopolitan and Shape – in order to let them know about the Healthy Bones Australia program, and clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding bone health.
The debate was structured around the argument “Australia Needs More Boneheads”, with Jude Bolton and Elka Whalan on the negative, and Susie Burrell and Professor Rob Daly on the affirmative. While the traditional definition of bonehead is as follows (courtesy of dictionary.com)
a foolish or stupid person; blockhead.
being of, by, or for a stupid or unthinking person: a bonehead mistake.
But at Healthy Bones Australia, we’ve come up with our own definition of bonehead:
a person who understands the fundamentals of good bone health
Enacting bone health principles in order to ensure strong, healthy bones: a bonehead decision
Healthy Bones Australia was launched because we found the Australia public simple don’t think about their bones. Here are some common responses to why Australians – mostly young ones – don’t think they need to be boneheads:
- Brittle bones and osteoporosis occur when you get older, so it’s a concern for then. Maybe after 60 you should just drink more milk.
- Osteoporosis a female issue, so if you’re a bloke, you don’t need to worry about it.
- I’m an active person. I swim, cycle and run a lot, so I’m doing all the exercise I need for bone health.
- We’re told so much in Australia to ‘slip, slop, slap’ and stay out of the sun – surely we’re all getting too much vitamin D, if anything.
- Obesity is such a big issue in Australia – and dairy is so high in fat, and sometimes sugar. Should we really be having so much calcium?
However, thanks to research from out outstanding committee, they are arguments against all of those:
- While Osteoporosis does tend to affect the elderly, peak bone mass is reached in your 20s. This makes it important to consider the health of your bones during your entire life.
- While females do suffer from low bone-density more frequently by men, the amount of men who will suffer from it is by no means meagre: 1 in 3 men over the age of 60 will suffer a fracture from osteoporosis.
- Just like certain exercises are good for cardiovascular health, certain exercises are good for bone health. Bones need to be shocked and stressed – for this reason, exercises like swimming and cycling don’t do anything for them. Bones need exercises like basketball, skipping and football in order to stay strong.
- While we are a sunny nation and we need to safeguard ourselves against sunburns, 31% of Australians have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is critical for calcium absorption, and needs direct contact to your skin – so wearing long sleeves or feeling the sun behind a window won’t work. The amount of time spent in the sun to receive this often is only 20 minutes (depending on location, time of year and skin tone), so you can really get it on your mid-morning coffee run.
- While dairy can have a high fat content, there are low-fat options. The recommended serving sizes for Dairy are also not as large as you may initially think (for example, a serve of cheese is the size of a matchbox!). Calcium can also be found in fortified foods, leafy greens and certain nuts, legumes and veggies.
It’s clear that Australia really does need more boneheads – Healthy Boneheads, that is!
We’d like to thank Osteoporosis Australia chairman John Hewson for being our brilliant MC, and Susie Burrell and Professor Rob Daly for letting us know why bone health is important and how we can build strong, healthy bones.
Special thanks go to Elka Whalan and Jude Bolton for speaking about the misconceptions surrounding bonehealth, because in reality, they are a couple of the best Healthy Boneheads.