Essay by epsarayoJunior High, 7th gradeA+, March 2004

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Attention Teens!

You may have seen many a milk moustache on many of your favorite athletes, actors and pop stars, but are you sporting your own?

What exactly is calcium?

Calcium is a mineral that gives strength to your bones. It is the main substance in bone. Calcium is necessary for many of your body's functions, such as blood clotting and the proper function of nerves and muscles.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops slowly over the years. It can run in families and it can also result from getting too little calcium in the diet. The results are brittle bones, risk for broken bones, shortened height due to collapse of spinal bones, and an increased chance of a hunched back. Although there's four times the chance of getting osteoporosis as a female, men can get this, too. Also, osteoporosis tends to happen to women in the Caucasian and Asian races.

HOWEVER: there's more of a chance of getting osteoporosis because of your race, gender, or family history, osteoporosis can be prevented by taking precautions, which you should start NOW!

But why should I worry about osteoporosis now? Don't signs of osteoporosis occur later in your life?

Although that is true, during the teenage years (particularly ages 11- 15), your bones are developing quickly. Nearly half of all bone is formed during these years. Your bones store calcium so that your skeleton will be strong later in life. If your body does not get the calcium it needs from your diet, it takes calcium from the only source that it has: your bones. This can lead to brittle bones later in life and broken bones at any time.

Okay, so now I know I should...