When we talk about our child’s health all we think about it is how they are growing, their annual health check-ups, and their diet. What we miss out on is their bone health. It is important to build up healthy bones in childhood while they are still growing. Bone health surely prevents fractures and adds strength but it also helps prevent osteoporosis in the later years of life.
What Is Osteoporosis?
People suffer from Osteoporosis in the later years of their life. Their bones become less dense and prone to fractures. It is sometimes referred to as a childhood disease that comes with consequences in old age. The reason being the bone mass that a person attains in childhood and in teen years helps to determine their bone health for their entire life.
Most children reach their peak bone mass around the age of 20 or latest by 30 years. At these ages, the bones have reached their maximum strength and density. The higher the peak bone mass, the more bone the child will have stored and will be less likely to develop osteoporosis as they age.
Why Healthy Bones are Important?
Strong bones give our body support and enable us to move easily. They protect our heart, lungs, and brain from injury. Our bones store the vital vitamins and minerals needed for the optimum functioning of our bodies. Meanwhile, weak bones break easily and cause intense pain, and may even result in a reduction in height.
Remember that the bones are living organs. They have cells and flowing body fluids inside them. Bones are constantly growing and renewing, hence they can grow stronger with a good diet and physical exercise. When a child runs, jump, or lift heavy objects, their bones are put under stress. This stress sends a signal to their brain that their bones need to be made stronger. In response, new cells are added to strengthen the child’s bones.
Factors Impacting Bone Health
Bones are continuously changing in children and teens. New bones are being made while the old ones break down. A number of things impact the health of the bones, some of these are:
- Physical Activity: Researches have shown that kids who are physically inactive, involved in gaming, technology, or just being lazy are not loading their bones in ways that promote bone strength. While children involved in running, jumping, football, basketball, volleyball, skipping, or dancing have stronger bones.
- Calcium Intake: When a child’s diet is low in calcium their bone density diminishes. This can lead to increased risks of fractures and early bone loss.
- Eating Disorders: Teens who have eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia are at a risk for bone loss. Crohn’s disease and celiac disease also can impact the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Genetic Build Up: If you have a family member with the disease you need to be extra careful about your child’s bone health.
How To Keep Your Child’s Bones Healthy?
Developing healthy habits but in nutrition and diet go a long way. Children do what they see. Don’t just preach them lead the way by your actions.
- Diet: Encourage children for proper nutrition. When preparing meals include foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. Most kids do not get enough calcium in their diet to help optimum peak bone mass. For kids who do not drink milk, substitute it with cheese, yogurt, calcium fortified juices, cereals and green leafy vegetables.
- Physical Exercise: Teens should be exercising for a minimum of one hour every day. They need not stick to any one sport or event. They can indulge in a variety of things like skating, running, skipping, dancing, walking, basketball, volleyball, or football. Overexercising with restrictive dieting, also puts bone health at risk. If your teen is training more than is recommended, or is prone to over use injuries re-evaluate their activity schedule.
A Word From H2FCare
Building strong bones starts in childhood. Simply healthy eating habits and consistent physical activities can give your children strong bones throughout their lives. The key is getting sufficient calcium, vitamin D, and physical exercise. These three factors combine together to result in stronger bones and better overall health.