Skeleton in front of classroom

One in two Americans over the age of 18, and many children, have limited movement due to arthritis, back pain, a broken bone, osteoporosis, sports injury and other issues that affect the body. (2014–15 United States Bone and Joint Initiative)


The musculoskeletal system includes the bones, muscles, cartilage and everything that keeps them together such as tendons and ligaments.

  • The US Bone and Joint Initiative believes that Americans need to work together to improve musculoskeletal health.
  • The Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health (previously known as the Bone and Joint Decade) was created in 1998 and works with patients, professionals and scientists in more than 60 countries.
  • The United Nations and World Health Organization support their mission.

This group is trying to make musculoskeletal conditions a public health priority and make sure that prevention, treatment and care is available to everyone. 

The Bone and Joint Decade was set up with four main goals. (2014–15 United States Bone and Joint Initiative):

  1. To raise awareness and educate the world on what effect bone and joint illnesses have on society.
  2. To educate patients so that they are able to take part in making decisions about their care and treatment.
  3. To increase worldwide funding for prevention activities and treatment research.
  4. To look for and promote cost-effective prevention and treatment of bone and joint injuries and illnesses.


Bone, joint health problems chart


As we age, the musculoskeletal system can go through lots of changes. Some of the problems of the musculoskeletal system include:    

  •  Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteomalacia
  • Bursitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Back pain
  • Fractures
  • Sports trauma
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis


  • Exercise: Exercises that include weights help to build bone thickness.  Low impact exercises protect your joints.
  • Vitamin D: Eat foods that have vitamin D: It helps the body take in and use calcium that we eat.  Foods with Vitamin D include:

Fatty fish (tuna/sardines)

Egg yolks

Beef liver


Low-fat milk and yogurt

Fortified soy products

  • Calcium: Include calcium rich foods into your diet. Getting enough calcium helps keep your bones healthy and strong.  Examples include:

Low-fat milk and yogurt

Calcium fortified orange juice

Green leafy vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and turnip greens)

  • Vitamin C: It is needed to help repair the cartilage in your joints.
  • Reduce salt intake: Limit salt and increase your intake of potassium. A diet high in salt can affect the thickness of your bones
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: People who drink a lot of alcohol are more likely to have thin bones that break more easily.


American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis Foundation
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (The National Institutes of Health)
The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States
Experts in arthritis
“Fit to a T”