October 20 is World Osteoporosis Day. For you non-investors, ROI stands for Return On Investment, and you have to trust us on this: any money that you put into your bone trust fund is going to reap you huge returns some day.
Consider these brief market numbers:
Today, we have 402 cases of osteoporotic hip fractures vs 53 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 population.
So that makes osteoporosis an even greater threat than breast cancer!
Saving for rainy days
So what exactly is a bone trust fund? Simply put, it is the money that you invest into making sure you have strong bones by way of food and exercise – so as to prevent osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis means ‘porous bones’, and is caused by a means of slow deterioration in the micro-structure of your bones – literally, they hollow out and become more susceptible to breaking as you grow older.
Unsurprisingly, it falls upon YOU to be the one to oversee all the assets n your bone trust. After all, you can’t leave it to anyone else…
The basket of investments
Like any trust fund, your bone trust fund consists of a basket of many different assets, which ensure that your bones maintain their density and strength well into your old age.
1. Blue chip stocks & commodities
Blue chip investments are in your diet, exercise and healthy living habits.
Basically from young, you should have healthy living habits. And you’ll need proper calcium intake, because that’s when you want to build up your bones. Then there will come a stage where your bones will be in a balanced flux.
The importance of adequate calcium intake while young is to enable you to attain your peak bone mass – the maximum amount of bone you can carry in your life.
And it starts from before birth, even. Studies have shown that low-weight birth babies have a higher tendency to experience fractures when older.
After that, women for instance, when they have menopause, their bone bank starts falling, and that’s the time when if you’ve built up an excellent bank account, withdrawing from it will not cause your ‘bone balance’ to drop into an osteoporotic range.
2. Interest & dividends
Let’s say you’ve done a good job of building up your bones – which includes weight-bearing exercises, healthy living, and not smoking, low alcohol intake, and high calcium intake.
If you’ve done all that and you have very good bone mass, then what happens is, even when you start losing your bone when you’re older, you will not drop into the dangerous range.
3. You can’t afford NOT to invest
Bone imaging is the only way to detect bone loss, and it’s called a Bone Density Scan (DEXA) scan.
Fractures are the worse consequences of osteoporosis, and the mortality rate associated with hip fractures are about 20% in the first year (after the injury).
We run 15 to 20 cases a month of fractures (at Alexandra Hospital). Tan Tock Seng Hospital sees a lot more because they are a larger hospital,
But apart from that, there’s also the burden of care placed on your family. The costs of caring for someone who has fractures from osteoporosis are a growing global concern that includes emotional, financial and physical costs.
Now that you know why you need to invest, here’s our overview of the strategies for maximising your bone trust fund.
Sticks and stones will break your bones…And so will these, according to the International Osteoporosis Society:
Osteoporosis has been shown in studies to have a large genetic component. A parental history of fracture (particularly hip fracture) confers an increased risk of fracture that is independent of Bone Mass Density. So take note if you’ve parents who’ve broken their bones frequently.
High runt ratio
Studies have provided evidence that weight in infancy is a determinant of bone mass in adulthood. Low body weight and weight loss in adulthood is associated with greater bone loss and increased risk of fracture.
Physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle as well as impaired neuromuscular function (e.g., reduced muscle strength, impaired gait and balance) are risk factors for developing fragility fractures.
Smokers, be quitters
Smoking can lead to lower bone density and higher risk of fracture and this risk increases with age.
A high intake of alcohol confers a significant risk of future fracture (e.g., over 4 units of alcohol/day can double the risk of hip fracture). The risk of vertebral and hip fractures in men increases greatly with heavy alcohol intake, particularly with long term intake.
Work out, tick. Eat well, not so much.
Some young females, particularly those training for elite athletic competition, exercise too much, eat too little, and consequently experience amenorrhea which makes them at risk for low bone mass and fractures.
Middle-aged and older men and women with annual height loss of more than 0.5 cm are at increased risk of hip and any fracture.
The consequences of falling
After an initial low trauma fracture from a simple fall, both older men and women have an increased equivalent risk of all types of subsequent fractures, especially in the next 5-10 years.
Falls contribute to fractures - 90% of hip fractures result from falls. A third of people over age 65 fall annually, with approximately 10-15% of falls in the elderly resulting in fracture, and almost 60% of those who fell the previous year will fall again.
Children who experience their first fracture early in life (under the age of 4 years) are vulnerable to further fractures.
Greenspan-approved investment strategies:
According to the International Osteoporosis Society, these are the best investment tips for growing your bone trust:
Work it in, work it out
Childhood and adolescence are particularly valuable times to improve bone mass through exercise.
Higher levels of leisure time, sport activity, and household chores and fewer hours of sitting daily were associated with a significantly reduced relative risk for hip fracture.
Physical activity and fitness reduce risk of osteoporosis and fracture and fall-related injuries. Evidence suggests that physical activity is associated with reductions in hip fracture in women and men. Strengthening back muscles can reduce the risk of vertebral fractures and kyphosis.
Studies have shown that bone mineral density in postmenopausal women can be maintained or increased with therapeutic exercise.
Strike a balance
In the frail elderly, activity to improve balance and confidence may be valuable in fall prevention. Studies have shown that individuals who practice tai chi have a 47% decrease in falls and 25% the hip fracture rate of those who do not and that tai chi can be beneficial for retarding bone loss in weight-bearing bones in early postmenopausal women.
Intensive exercise training can lead to improvements in strength and function in elderly patients who have had hip replacement surgery due to hip fracture.
Invest wisely in:
Adequate levels of calcium intake can maximise the positive effect of physical activity on bone health during the growth period of children.
Calcium supplementation has been shown to have a positive effect on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.
Calcium and vitamin D supplementation reduces rates of bone loss and also fracture rates in older male and female adults, and the elderly. In institutionalised elderly women, this combined supplementation reduced hip fracture rates.
Fruit and vegetable intake was positively associated with bone density in a study in men and women.
In a study in elderly men and women, higher dietary protein intake was associated with a lower rate of age-related bone loss.
Studies in children and adolescents have shown that supplementation with calcium, dairy calcium-enriched foods or milk enhances the rate of bone mineral acquisition.
Futures: hedge your bets with calcium commodities
The single greatest risk when it comes to osteoporosis (especially amongst the elderly) is inadequate consumption of calcium.
Also, women, older people and those with sedentary lifestyle have higher calcium requirements. Age and hormonal factors, for example decline of oestrogen in post menopausal women account for the different requirements.
Additionally, you should start investing in your bone trust fund with calcium supplementation if you are at post-menopausal age or above.
But calcium supplements are not the only ways to get your daily calcium load.
Diversify your portfolio
Calcium-fortified foods, especially those which contain vitamin D to aid absorption of calcium can also boost your intake.
Examples would include high calcium milks, egg noodles, soya bean milk and bread.
Adults need 800 mg a day, while children (between 11 and 18) require 1000mg. If you’re over 51, pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ll also need 1000mg a day.
We hope we’ve helped you become a smarter investor in your health. Feel free to share our tips with your friends and family!
Health & fitness