Nightly News   |  May 29, 2012

The free prescription for height loss

Doing weight-bearing exercises will keep bones strong, and prevent age-related height loss caused by bone-thinning. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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>>> back now with some important advice for women , who are concerned about getting shorter as they get older. a couple things here. hight loss has been a constant for aging women . it can be a sign other health risks, and we now know there are things that can be done to prevent it. here is our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman .

>> reporter: 60-year-old carla got the message early in life. she's been a life wrong believer in strength training .

>> the core is the heart of stability. and from there you're able to then strengthen and improve on your balance, on your flexibility, even on your muscle toning.

>> reporter: most women over 40 don't know what carmella knows and they pay the price. it's common for a woman to lose two inches by the age of 70 and 3 inches by the age of 80.

>> most of the height loss we see in women is preventable if we start early.

>> reporter: now, carmella is teaching other women what has kept her long, lean and powerful. it's all about building muscles and keeping them strong. the women in carmella 's class are clearly seeing and feeling the benefit.

>> i know i'm walking taller.

>> reporter: at 74, loretta is a believer.

>> i want to stay strong. my mom lived to almost 99. i want to beat her.

>> reporter: that also means knowing your risk factors , including entering menopause, inactivity, smoking and drinking alcohol in excess.

>> we have a crisis of fitness in this country. what we really need to do is get the 95% of women who are not exercising appropriately, exercising more.

>> reporter: and that exercise is something carmella shares every day with her husband, knowing she's the one that holds the key to her strength and well being.

>> if you don't use them, you're going to lose them as you age. i want to be able to enjoy my life and be able to do what i want to do as long as i can.

>> reporter: it's important, because those strong bones will ward off osteoporosis. it's free, gravity is your friend. this is one of those things, everybody can do regardless of age.

>> i know it's their marketing slogan, but aspirin was in the news again today.

>> this time for cancer, along with other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, naprosyn, ibuprofen. over 18,000 people who took these drugs for several years had decreased cancer rates of malignant melanoma. and the other cancer dropped 13 to 15%. not asecetaminophen but the other drugs. it may be worth talking to your doctor about whether you should use it. pregnant women or anyone with a clotting disorder, it's not for you.