Dem bones, dem bones

A surprising message from within.

A DEXA1 scan has just revealed
What hitherto has been concealed:
A ‘young healthy adult’ I am no more,
So negative is my bones’ T-score2.

My bones, it seems, are not as tough
As I had thought (but strong enough
To prop me up and help contain
My vital organs, like my brain).

One’s bone replacement rate gets less
From thirty onwards, more or less.
Sufficient intake is the key,
Of calcium and vitamin D.

For adult males, the calcium dose
Is 0.7 grams, or close3;
As sixties’ adverts used to say4.

But man can’t live on milk alone,
So oily fish (complete with bone),
Some seeds and nuts and yoghurts, too,
Have calcium that’s good for you.

And so, to briefly summarise:
A balanced diet and exercise
In sunshine helps your bones to thrive
And keep the rest of you alive.

  1. DEXA stands for “dual energy x-ray absorptiometry”
  2. This is the number of standard deviations by which a measured bone density differs from the mean value for ‘young healthy adults’. Negative values numerically greater than 2.5 indicate an osteoporotic bone structure. My spine registered –2.6.
  3. See
  4. That’s about right: the BBC Good Food website says 200 ml of milk has 240 mg of calcium; so a pint would give you about 686 mg.


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