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Vieira makes no bones about it: Prevent osteoporosis

By Kat Carney
CNN Headline News

Meredith Vieira
Meredith Vieira says many women mistakenly believe they don't have to do anything about the disease until their 60s or 70s.

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Meredith Vieira

(CNN) -- Every morning, Meredith Vieira takes her place among the women of "The View." But the talk show host recently got a new perspective on her health after a routine visit to her doctor.

"We're going through medical history, and he noticed that my mom had osteoporosis," Vieira said. "He said, 'Given your age, I really think that it would be wise for you to have a bone mineral density test.'"

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, a bone mineral density test is the only way to diagnose this disease, which usually has no early visible symptoms. Osteoporosis is characterized by a deterioration of bone tissues, which can make bones more susceptible to fractures.

The results of Vieira's test weren't quite what she had hoped. "He said, 'This shows you are headed toward osteoporosis, you have some bone loss.'"

Contrary to popular belief, osteoporosis can strike women and men of any age. While there's no cure, there is treatment. "Immediately we started talking about changes in the diet, not dramatic ones, but just adding more calcium-rich foods and taking a calcium supplement, and talked more about the best exercises that I could do."

Vieira is a paid spokeswoman for a campaign aimed at raising awareness for bone health sponsored by a manufacturer of osteoporosis medications.

She says many women mistakenly believe they don't have to do anything about the disease until their 60s or 70s.

She faults the media for not doing enough to educate people. "I have not been impressed prior to this with what's out there about osteoporosis. I think that we are a youth-oriented society and I think we spend a lot of time on how to be sexy and not a lot about when you are in your golden years."

Vieira also informs "little" women about the disease. "I talk to my daughter Lilly all the time now. I mean, she's only 10, but what she does as a young woman will have a dramatic impact on her bones and the condition they are in when she gets her first bone mineral density test."

Meredith Vieira is a woman with a definite point of "View."

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