Healthy bones for women 50+ 

Most people don’t think about their bones until they have a fracture or until they reach older age. However, bones are living tissue - constantly in a state of renewal, which makes building and maintaining bones a lifelong matter - so it’s not too late to act. 

Bone health is particularly important for women aged 50+. The drop in oestrogen levels that occurs around this age results in increased bone loss. To help maintain bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, experts recommend eating a diet of calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt, doing regular weight-bearing exercise and getting enough vitamin D through safe sun exposure. 

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend increasing the daily serves of milk, cheese and yogurt and/or alternatives from 2.5 to 4 serves for women aged 50+. That could be adding a 200g tub of yoghurt (one serve) and a 20g slice of cheese (half serve) to your daily diet.  

An annual survey of Australians showed 90% of women 50+ agree that dairy is good for bones, but only 9% of those surveyed were aware that the amount of dairy they need jumps up to four serves at this age*.  

By not prioritising their dairy intake, Australian women are at risk of missing out on essential nutrients, including calcium and protein found in milk, cheese, and yoghurt, which can help build strong bones, develop lean muscle mass, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and support a healthy active lifestyle into the future.

*Dairy Trust Tracker, 2023 

Serve of dairy

Getting enough dairy in the diet could be easier than you think. Dairy foods are tasty, convenient to consume and can easily be added to your favourite recipes to make them full of the goodness of dairy. It could be as easy as having one cup of milk with breakfast, adding two slices of cheese to a sandwich at lunch, having ¾ of a cup of yoghurt for an afternoon snack, or adding ½ a cup of ricotta to your pasta at dinner. For more great recipe ideas on how to add dairy in your diet, visit our Dairy Kitchen.

one serve of dairy

The Fractures Trial

A first of its kind, the University of Melbourne and Austin Health's Fractures Trial looked at how more dairy in the diet of elderly aged care residents improved their bone, heart and muscle health. 

The trial showed that increasing serves of dairy - milk, cheese, yoghurt, and skim milk powder - from an average of 2 to 3.5 serves per day resulted in a 33% reduction in all fractures, 46% reduction in hip fractures, 11% reduction in falls, and improved calcium and protein intakes. 

The trial demonstrated how adequate dairy intake reduced the risk of fractures and falls in elderly people - providing compelling evidence that provision of dairy foods is a safe, low cost, palatable, widely available approach to reduce the burden of fractures and falls in the community.

Healthy Bones Action Week | 21-27 August

Healthy Bones Action Week is a yearly initiative by Dairy Australia, which takes place every August, with the objective to educate and encourage all Australians to look after their bone health by taking three simple actions.  

three simple actions for stronger bones

Watch the video of our industry ambassador Jonathan Brown talk about the importance of bone health and the three actions for building strong bones with two primary-aged children, Ivy and Daisy.  


Celebrating Healthy Bones Action Week in schools

Primary school is a crucial time for Aussie kids to build strong bones for life and ensure their daily routine includes the three steps to maintaining good bone health. Head over to our Discover Dairy schools website for some fun free games and activities to get your kids active this Healthy Bones Action Week. 

Watch the video of Dietitian Maddi talk about the three steps to maintaining good bone health with Daisy.  


Ways to get involved

Here are a couple of ways you can get involved and support this important national health initiative:  

1. Host a Healthy Bones Action Week initiative in your workplace, encouraging staff to take the three actions (Calcium intake through foods like milk, cheese, yoghurt, weight bearing exercise and Vitamin D through safe sun exposure) for healthy bones each day. Share daily content from @AustralianDairy to kick-start the initiative!  

2. Share Healthy Bones Action Week with your social followers. Encourage all Australians to do something positive for their bone health, by taking three simple actions for Healthy Bones and give a shout out to your calcium-rich dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt), tagging @australiandairy and #HealthyBonesActionWeek.