12.14.2012

Teen Smoking Associated with Early Bone Loss in Young Girls

By LaKenya McClough, MPH

Now, you might be asking yourself, “what does smoking have to do with bone loss?”

Well, for teen girls, smoking during the adolescent years is a major risk factor for long term health because it’s during the teen years is when a young girl’s body begins the biological processes necessary to stimulate, grow, and maintain healthy bone development and bone density for the long haul.

According to a Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center report, "As much bone is accrued in the two years surrounding a girl's first menstrual cycle as is lost in the last four decades of life." This is huge since smoking is associated with inhibited bone development. This ends up costing women in the long run!

For those who want to know, “bone density (or bone mineral density) is a medical term normally referring to the amount of mineral matter, that is, the thickness of the bone mineral per square centimeter of bones.” (Wikipedia.com)

All is not lost. Increased Calcium intake and physical activity help to stimulate bone growth and bone density. Talk to your physician about what you can do to help protect your bones and or get help with smoking cessation for you or your teen.