Published 1/12/2022

Resolve to Protect Your Bone and Joint Health in the New Year

Orthopaedic surgeons say calcium and Vitamin D can help you stay strong

ROSEMONT, Ill. (January 12, 2022)—It’s that time of year when many Americans make New Year’s resolutions to exercise more. While the focus may be on getting or staying active, experts with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) want you to consider how you can improve the health of your bones and joints so that you can stay strong and pain free for years to come. A balanced diet and a steady stream of nutrients – most importantly calcium and Vitamin D – can offer a proper foundation to any health-related resolution.

“Whether you are building a fitness routine from the ground up in 2022 or working to increase your intensity, it’s important to consider your bone health before jumping in,” says orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Barbara Jean Campbell, MD, FAAOS. “By giving your bones the nutrients they need, you can perform at your best and be one step closer to keeping your resolution in check.”

According to Dr. Campbell, diet and nutrition should be more than just a note in your New Year’s resolution playbook. Nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D aid bone health and can help avoid future musculoskeletal conditions like osteoporosis or fractures. Calcium is a mineral that people need to get from their diet or supplements daily to help the body maintain strong bones and teeth. Calcium is actually vital for the functioning of all the cells in our bodies and if it is not provided by the diet it will be taken out of bone to maintain cell function. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, which helps the body absorb the calcium it needs to keep strong and has many other physiologic functions in cells.

“While getting enough Vitamin D from what we eat is difficult, supplements and even taking in a little bit of sunshine with skin precautions can help,” added Dr. Campbell.

As the leading experts in musculoskeletal health, the AAOS suggests the following tips:

  • Identify Dietary Sources of Calcium
    People can get the recommended daily amount of calcium by eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of calcium-rich foods. Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products are the biggest food sources of calcium. Other high-calcium foods include:
    • Kale, broccoli, bok choy, and other green leafy vegetables
    • Sardines, salmon, and other soft-bone fish
    • Tofu
    • Breads, pastas, and grains
    • Calcium-fortified cereals, juices, and other beverages.
  • Know How to Get Vitamin D
    Vitamin D is often seen as the star of the show when it comes to proactive and preventive health care. Most recently, it has been linked COVID-19 prevention following studies[1] that have shown a correlation between infected individuals and Vitamin D deficiency.

    Dr. Campbell suggests going for a stroll outside each day to absorb some Vitamin D from the sun as well as to complete a cardio workout as part of your New Year’s resolution to get moving. Regardless of whether the weather is cooperating, doctors recommend Vitamin D supplements for both adults and children. According to the Institute of Medicine–Food and Nutrition Board, and the National Institutes of Health–Office of Dietary Supplements, the Recommended Daily Allowances for Vitamin D among children is:
    • 400 IU/day for children aged 0 to 12 months[2]
    • 600 IU/day for children aged 1 to 18 years

Recent research supports that adults need at least 1000 IU per day for good health — depending on age and weight. Indeed, many people need much more than 1000 IU to keep Vitamin D levels in a good range.

  • Understand the Impact of Other Key Nutrients on Bone Health
    Many other nutrients — most found naturally and at sufficient levels in a typical diet — contribute to bone health and growth. They include:
    • Phosphorus. A major mineral in the body's bone crystal, phosphorus is found in dairy products and meat, as well as shellfish, beans, sunflower seeds, lentils, sardines, and cheese. Vitamin D improves phosphorus absorption in the intestine and kidney.
    • Magnesium. Primarily found in bone crystals, magnesium improves bone strength. Older adults are more likely to be deficient in magnesium. Calcium supplements that contain magnesium can help. You can also find it in foods like spinach, bananas, nuts and seeds, avocado, and chickpeas. 
    • Vitamin K. Necessary for bone formation and mineralization, Vitamin K also is important for blood clotting, and may assist in channeling calcium directly to the bone rather than the blood vessels. You can get Vitamin K from leafy greens, avocado, kiwi, asparagus, and pumpkin.
    • Vitamin C. Collagen is the main protein in bone, and Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis. Vitamin C is present in citrus fruits and tomatoes, and in many vegetables, including sweet yellow pepper, red bell pepper, broccoli, and kale.
    • Vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for cells to develop normally and for normal skeletal growth, and also is extremely important for eye health. Vitamin A is available in liver, eggs, butter, green leafy vegetables, and carrots.

Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for good bone health, but they must be consumed safely. If you are not sure what intake levels are right for you and your health needs, be sure to talk to your doctor.

For more information about calcium, nutrition, and bone health, visit To schedule an interview with an AAOS expert about additional ways to achieve optimal bone health or for tips on for preventing musculoskeletal injuries in the New Year, email

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About the AAOS
With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS is the trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal health. It provides the highest quality, most comprehensive education to help orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals at every career level best treat patients in their daily practices. The AAOS is the source for information on bone and joint conditions, treatments, and related musculoskeletal health care issues and it leads the health care discussion on advancing quality.

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[2] This is the amount that seems to prevent rickets, not the amount that will result in the healthiest bones. Rickets is a condition caused by a lack of Vitamin D which causes bone weakness, bowed legs, and other skeletal deformities, such as stooped posture.

Contact AAOS Media Relations 

Deanna Killackey 


Lauren Riley