Calcium is a very important nutrient for the health, density and strength of bones. Decrease of bone density can lead to fragile bones called osteoporosis and ‘atraumatic’ fractures – fractures that occur with little or no trauma. Sometimes a small push with a foot to shut an open drawer, bending, lifting, falling from standing position or a big sneeze or a sharp turn of the wrist can cause the fragile bone to fracture. The most common fractures occur in the backbone. You would probably have seen some older women with a bent, humped back and a stooped posture.

I am often reminded of an advertisement on television wherein the presenter asks the female audience how many of their children suffer from lethargy, weakness, irritability, repeated infections, poor concentration, and decreased capacity for work. More than 50% of the women raised their hands. Had the presenter asked the same women for these symptoms among themselves, the number of hands up would have been much more . The diagnosis in all these cases is probably anaemia which affects 40 % to 90 % of the women in developing countries like India. In women, not only is anaemia responsible for a poor quality of life but also

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