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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Research presented at the National Osteoporosis Society's conference at Bath has shown that genetics influences up to 69 per cent of bone structure and quality. The research presented by Karen Knapp from Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals in London looked at the influences of genetics and the environment on the bone quality in a group of 266 identical and non-identical twins. It showed that 50-69 per cent of bone quality is genetically determined compared with earlier studies which suggested that as much as 75-80 per cent of bone density is inherited. The study looked at bone quality measurements in the finger, wrist, shin and foot. However, just because our bone strength is partly inherited does not mean that individuals cannot positively influence their bone health. With a calcium rich diet, taking regular load bearing exercise and avoiding smoking and excess alcohol we can all do something to improve the health of our bones.