Usually, when parents consider their child’s health, they do not give too much thought about their bones and the skeletal health. However, building healthy bones during childhood is very essential in order to ward off osteoporosis and fractures in later life.
Osteoporosis, characterized by reduced bone density is defined as a pediatric disorder with geriatric consequences, given that the bone mass that is attained during childhood determines lifelong bone health.
Bones are the framework of your body. It is a living tissue which continually changes; portions of the old bone are eliminated and replaced by new bone.
For most people, the bone mass tends to peak by their late 20s. By this time, the bones have attained their maximum mass, density and strength. About 90 % of the bone mass is achieved by 18 years in girls and 20 years in boys, consequently making childhood and youth the best time to take care of your bone health.
Common Causes Of Low Bone Density In Children
The following are commonly seen reasons for low bone density and bone mass in children:
- Gender: Bone density is known to be higher in males than in females.
- Race: Experts say that African American girls attain higher peak bone mass than their Caucasian counterparts, and they are at a lesser risk for developing osteoporosis in old age.
- Hormonal factors: Sex hormones – estrogen and testosterone, are vital for the development of normal bone density and mass. Girls who menstruate at an early age have a higher bone density. Those who are known to frequently miss periods may have lower bone density.
- Nutrition: Calcium is crucial for good bone health. A well-balanced diet comprising of adequate calcium, vitamin D3, magnesium, and zinc is very important.
- Physical activity: Plays a pivotal role in building healthy bones, and proffers benefits to those bones that bear the most of your weight, i.e. – the hips during walking and running and the arms during weight lifting and gymnastics.
Natural Ways To Increase Bone Density In Children
These guidelines promise that your child will have a healthy skeletal system and ensures that he won’t develop osteoporosis and brittle bones in later life:
- Ensure that your child is getting plenty of calcium. Give him sufficient amounts of milk, kale, sardines, cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt. In case your child is glucose intolerant, confer with your health care provider and nutritionist. Discuss the need to start a calcium supplement soon.
- D3 is another vital nutrient for bone health. Early morning sun exposure helps you to get ample D3. You may need to give him a D3 supplement every month or two as well.
- Exercising is equally important to build bones. Muscles and bones get stronger when we use them. Physical exercise is great for children, but the most ideal for their bones are weight bearing activities like walking, tennis, running, skiing, hiking, dancing, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, jumping rope, aerobics, and soccer.