Your child’s bones grow very fast; you can see how much taller he is this year than last year. While his bones are growing so fast, how do you ensure that they are at peak health? It’s important to do so, because almost all bone mass is complete by age 20 in boys and age 18 in girls. At around age 30, bone mass actually starts to decrease. You still make new bone tissue as an adult, but you make it more slowly than the bone tissue you lose.
The more bone mass you have in early adulthood, the better; low bone mass in your 20s means that your risk of osteoporosis increases as you age. Osteoporosis means your bones are too porous, leading to an easy risk of fracture.
At Urgently Ortho in Scottsdale, Arizona, our doctors and staff can help you help your children grow strong, healthy bones.
Getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and exercise are the three pillars upon which bone health is built. Following are tips to help you ensure your child’s bone health.
Calcium is a mineral that your body needs to survive, but your body doesn’t produce it. Your child must ingest it through nutrition. Calcium keeps your heart beating and your muscles limber, and helps your blood clot. Most of your body’s calcium is contained in your teeth and bones.
Your child’s body constantly loses calcium through his skin, nails, hair, sweat, and body waste. It needs constant replenishment.
Dairy products are great sources of calcium. Milk is an obvious go-to. What if your child doesn’t like milk or is lactose intolerant? There are many other choices. Following are just a few calcium-rich foods that should be included in your child’s diet, especially if he doesn’t like milk.
Even if he doesn’t like milk, your child may love hot cocoa (with milk). If your teen daughter thinks dairy products are too fattening, there are many low-fat choices: skim milk or reduced-fat milk, low-fat cheese, and yogurt are a few good choices.
Look at the RDI on what you’re purchasing at the store and google the RDI in vegetables and other non-dairy sources to make sure your child is getting enough calcium if he’s a picky eater and drinker. Your doctor may advise calcium supplements if your young child is eating a limited diet.
Vitamins and minerals are the foundation for our body’s growth. Vitamin D, like calcium, is necessary for survival. It helps build strong bones. Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium it takes in. Maybe you’ve seen pictures of children in underdeveloped countries with bowed legs, a condition called rickets, which is the result of a lack of vitamin D and calcium.
Following are good sources of vitamin D:
You may wonder if your child absorbs any vitamin D with sunscreen on. Studies indicate that it doesn’t block all vitamin D. From May to October in moderate climates, your child gets a lot of vitamin D on a sunny playground at recess. In the winter months, he probably gets much less vitamin D from the sun.
Your child also builds strong bones by using them. Weight-bearing activities are important for building bone. Recess is just as important for your child’s physical health as class is for your child’s education. Running around, jumping, climbing equipment, and walking all help build strong bones. Because riding a bike and swimming aren’t weight bearing, they’re not too helpful for building bone, but they are great for overall body health.
Your child benefits from an hour of physical exercise every day. When he’s in school, gym class is helpful, but so are taking walks with you on the weekend, learning to play a sport, or dancing or ballet.
Call or message Urgently Ortho for all of your child’s musculoskeletal health needs.