Science Teaching Series

Internet Resources

I. Developing Scientific Literacy

II. Developing Scientific Reasoning

III. Developing Scientific Understanding

IV. Developing Scientific Problem Solving

V. Developing Scientific Research Skills

VI. Resources for Teaching Science

Activity 19.3.1 – Selecting foods to reduce the risk of osteoporosis

osteoporosisOsteoporosis is a metabolic disease in which bones become porous. Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from some from of this debilitating disease with symptoms including curvature of the spine and bone fractures. Although osteoporosis is often considered to be a disease of the elderly, steps to prevent it can be taken throughout life. Medical researchers have shown that osteoporosis results from an insufficiency of calcium during the growing years as well as later in life.

Nutrition experts agree that the best way to prevent nutrient deficiencies is to eat a balanced diet.  If, however, an individual is showing symptoms of calcium deficiency, it may be advisable to increase his or her dietary intake.  Calcium is best absorbed in foods that contain approximately equivalent amounts of calcium and phosphorous. Vitamin D is known to aid calcium absorption, while excessive dietary protein reduces it.  The nutritional database (table 19.6, download from provides information about the composition of some common foods. Your goal is to determine foods to recommend to an individual showing symptoms of calcium deficiency.  You will need to select foods which are (a) high in calcium, (b) have moderate to low protein content,  and a (c) calcium to phosphorous ratio of approximately 1:1.

(1) (a) Select (filter)  for those foods with more than 25 mg of calcium per serving size.  (b) Select (filter) for those foods with a protein content less than 10 g /serving, (c) and a calcium/phosphorus ratio between 0.7 and 1.3. Nutrition Database.