While brittle bones and osteoporosis might not be the first things in your mind during your children’s preteen and teenage years, these are critical years to help your kids build healthy bones that would last them well beyond this period. Aside from their bones growing during these years, they are also absorbing essential minerals and nutrients for maintaining strong bones.
With this in mind, consider the following guidelines to help your children build good bone health.
Regular exercise, particularly weight-bearing activities, is crucial for building strong bones. A well-balanced diet with sufficient protein, vitamin D and calcium, as well as rigorous exercise during their preteen and teenage years will help prevent brittle bones and osteoporosis when they grow older.
Check Your Family History
If your children have had their bones broken more than once, it’s best that you go to your family doctor in Salt Lake City for a vitamin D deficiency test and proper treatment. Take note that kids with a history of chronic diseases that impact proper absorption of vitamin D or osteoporosis in the family have a higher risk of having vitamin D deficiency and other bone health issues.
Consume Other Sources of Calcium
Children between the ages of 9 and 18 need approximately 1,300mg of calcium every day to ensure optimal bone health. Your kids can get around 300mg of calcium from an 8oz cup of low-fat milk every day.
There are many different calcium sources for children who don’t like or can’t drink milk. These alternative calcium sources include tofu, salmon, yogurt, green leafy veggies, cheddar cheese, sardines and calcium-fortified natural fruit drinks.
Give Vitamin D Supplements
Getting adequate calcium in your children’s diet is easy, but getting enough vitamin D isn’t that easy. It’s not readily available in lots of food and the easiest way to get it naturally is by being exposed to the sun. There’s a catch, however, because although sunscreen safeguards the skin against skin cancer, it also blocks the absorption of vitamin D.
So your safest bet is vitamin D supplementation. Most guidelines recommend 800 units of vitamin D for kids younger than 10 years old and between 1,000 and 2,000 units for children 10 years old and older, according to their weight.
Limit Screen Time
Kids who spend plenty of time just scrolling on their mobile phones, tinkering on their computers or laptops, and watching TV are putting their bone health at risk. According to a study presented during the World Congress on Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis and Musculoskeletal Diseases revealed that lots of screen time were directly linked to obesity and poor bone health.
The study found that boys who spent between four and six hours in front of a screen daily had lower bone mineral density than those who only got about an hour and 30 minutes of screen time daily.
Between 9 and 14 years old are the most critical for bone development. So focus your efforts on doing the things you can to ensure that your children have a strong foundation for bone health as early as possible.