When it comes to keeping children healthy, every parent knows that good nutrition and exercise are important. But did you know that these are also key elements to achieving good bone health?

Forming good bone health habits as a child better determines skeletal health as they grow older. Strong bones are best built in adolescence as the body continues to grow.

Though osteoporosis is generally thought of as an “old person’s disease,” it is very much impacted by how bones are cared for in childhood, when bone mass increases at a faster rate than it breaks down.

To ensure your children’s bones are healthy and strong, proper nutrition and plenty of physical activity is key. Milk and dairy products not only supply a diet with calcium, but also with other essential vitamins and minerals. Add milk to cereal, or pack a yogurt in your child’s lunch – milk products can easily be incorporated into any meal.

In addition to a calcium rich diet, physical activity makes bones stronger – especially weight-bearing exercise. Walking, running, hiking, basketball, soccer, and tennis are just a few examples of activities that help build bone density. No matter if your child enjoys organized sports or not, there is an activity that they will enjoy.

One of the best ways to help your children recognize the importance of maintaining healthy bones is to lead by example. If you incorporate a good bone-healthy diet and exercise routine into your life, your children will more likely follow suit.

 

References:

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_info/Bone/Bone_Health/Juvenile/default.asp

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