Facts by Age Groups


What’s Happening – Consolidation of Growth

This is the period of consolidation during which peak bone mass is achieved. Peak bone mass is the maximum bone mass attained. You reach the maximum bone mass by your late 20s to early 30s.

There is considerable variation in peak bone mass both within and between races. In general, blacks have larger and heavier bones than whites, Asians have a small skeletal mass and size, and Hispanics are in between whites and Asians. Although genetic factors determine the largest proportion of peak bone mass, they are modified by lifestyle differences such as diet and physical activity.

Peak bone mass is a key determinant of the lifetime risk of osteoporosis. The higher your peak bone mass, the better equipped you are to withstand the bone loss that is inevitable with aging.

Bone Health Tips for Your 20s

The potential for further bone gain in the third decade should not be ignored. You gain about 10% of bone mass during this decade.

Even if you were physically active through your teens, school and job demands often contribute lapses in your exercise regimen. Obtaining legal drinking status at 21 may contribute to a higher use of alcohol.

Bone healthy measures for your 20s include

1. Calcium

  • Recommended calcium intake is decreased to 1000 milligrams a day.
  • Try to cover the recommended amount from food sources.
  • If you fall short, do a menu makeover or use a dietary supplement.

2. Vitamin D

  • Recommendations continue at 600 IU per day with no more than 4000 IU per day.
  • Diet may not supply sufficient vitamin D in the fall, winter, and spring; a supplement to diet may be needed.

3. Diet

  • Try to limit meals “on the go” that tend to be high in carbohydrates and scant on vegetables.
  • Limit alcohol use and the extra calories.
  • Caffeine-containing beverages are okay as long as you are meeting your recommended calcium intake.

4. Exercise

  • Schedule your exercise just like a meeting.
  • Spend more time on your feet.