Osteoporosis imposes a tremendous burden on Australia: 1.2 million Australians have osteoporosis and 6.3 million have osteopenia. In the 2007–08 financial year, 82 000 Australians suffered fragility fractures, of which > 17 000 were hip fractures. In the 2000–01 financial year, direct costs were estimated at $1.9 billion per year and an additional $5.6 billion on indirect costs. Osteoporosis was designated a National Health Priority Area in 2002; however, implementation of national plans has not yet matched the rhetoric in terms of urgency. Building healthy bones throughout life, the Osteoporosis Australia strategy to prevent osteoporosis throughout the life cycle, presents an evidence-informed set of recommendations for consumers, health care professionals and policymakers. The strategy was adopted by consensus at the Osteoporosis Australia Summit in Sydney, 20 October 2011. Primary objectives throughout the life cycle are: to maximise peak bone mass during childhood and adolescence to prevent premature bone loss and improve or maintain muscle mass, strength and functional capacity in healthy adults to prevent and treat osteoporosis in order to minimise the risk of suffering fragility fractures, and reduce falls risk, in older people. The recommendations focus on three affordable and important interventions — to ensure people have adequate calcium intake, vitamin D levels and appropriate physical activity throughout their lives. Recommendations relevant to all stages of life include: daily dietary calcium intakes should be consistent with Australian and New Zealand guidelines serum levels of vitamin D in the general population should be above 50nmol/L in winter or early spring for optimal bone health regular weight-bearing physical activity, muscle strengthening exercises and challenging balance/mobility activities should be conducted in a safe environment.