(NC) Dairy Farmers of Canada partnered with Osteoporosis Canada to commission a survey about the level of public knowledge about the condition of osteoporosis. The results confirm that Canadians have misconceptions about the “silent thief” and do not necessarily know how to prevent it or how it may impact their quality of life. Those surveyed also think they don’t really have to worry about bone loss before age 44 — even though both men and women begin to lose bone mass in their mid-thirties.

“Canadians are not getting enough servings of milk products,” says Nathalie Savoie, registered dietitian. “This means they may be short in calcium as well as other essential bone-building nutrients all found in milk products, which could lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis as they age.”

Survey results also reveal that it’s important to remind people that it is crucial to start early to prevent osteoporosis, explains Dr. Famida Jiwa, president of Osteoporosis Canada. A majority of Canadians don’t realize that osteoporosis can be fatal or could seriously impact their quality of life.

The condition starts earlier than you think. Bone density peaks in your twenties. Having a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle throughout your life can both contribute to the development of healthy bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, while providing other positive health impacts.

In Canada, one in every three women and one in five men will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Over 30 per cent of people who suffer a hip fracture die within the following year from secondary causes.

Here are some ways to keep your bones healthy:

1. Get enough calcium-rich foods, such as milk products.

2. Ensure you have enough vitamin D.

3. Exercise regularly, focusing on strength training and weight-bearing exercises.

4. Limit your consumption of alcohol.

5. Get a bone mineral density test if you’re at risk.

Make sure you’re eating a healthy diet and feel great by checking out the Get Enough Helper App, created by the registered dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada. Every day app users track what they eat, one dollar is donated to one of the following causes: Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and Osteoporosis Canada.