Health and Wellness Special Needs

Bone Health in Children

Sreelakshmi
1 to 3 years

Created by Sreelakshmi
Updated on Oct 19, 2012

Bone Health in Children

Osteoporosis, a disease which used to be associated with old age is affecting more and more children now. Utmost care for your child’s bone health should be given during his/her formative childhood years. This will go a long way to build a strong framework of bones benefiting the child in later years. If the dietary intake of calcium/vitamin D by children and adolescents is below the recommended levels of adequate intake, the children will be unable to develop their optimal bone mass, which can put them at the risk of osteoporosis.

What exactly is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is sometimes referred as a paediatric disease with geriatric (old age) consequences. Osteoporosis is a condition where the density of the bones decreases resulting in brittle and fragile bones which make them prone to fractures. Your child’s bones mature gradually as they grow, with childhood and early adulthood being the prime periods for bone development. Whatever bone mass your child has attained in childhood and adolescence is a very important determinant for his/her lifelong skeletal health.

What are the main fallouts of undernourished bones?

It’s alarming to know about the increase in incidences of fractures in otherwise healthy children, reflects the unhealthy changes in lifestyle in the past few decades.

  1. Low bone density
  2. Brittle Bones/ Fractures
  3. Avoidance of dairy products/calcium deficiency leads to individual vertebrae becoming out of shape resulting in hunch back appearance.
  4. A distorted and damaged spine is painful, disabling and disfiguring.
  5. The distorted bones can compress other organs like the lung and abdomen leading to breathing problems.

 

How can we Boost Bone Health?

1. Calcium Rich Diet

Milk is rich in calcium and it is an easy way to get the required calcium your child would need. But for those of you whose child is not open to milk there are other sources of calcium too. Whatever the case it’s always better to understand from your paediatrician the recommended calcium intake for your child per day at various stages of his growth.

  1. Apart from milk, dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese are a great source of Calcium.
  2. Include plenty of Green Leafy vegetables, Fresh Green Peas, Broccoli, Beans and legumes  in the diet
  3. Tofu (The calcium content of tofu varies, depending on how it's processed so please check the nutrition label.)
  4. Replace soft drinks and colas with milk/dairy based smoothies/milkshakes as this will contribute to a significant amount of calcium intake.
  5. Almonds are a rich source of phosphorus , Calcium and vitamin –E contributing to strong bones and teeth. {20 – 25 almonds( approximately one ounce) contain as much calcium as ¼ cup of milk}
  6. Check for Calcium fortified breakfast cereals, fruit juices and soya milk.

 

2. Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin

Sometime ago a popular children’s health drink TV commercial highlighted the importance of Vitamin D for better bone health in children. It sent out a message how Vitamin D is helpful for the absorption of the calcium in the milk you give your child. According to the latest research ,vitamin D deficiency can not only cause rickets (a disease that can lead to bone deformity and fractures), it can also keep a child from reaching her genetically programmed height and peak bone mass.

Sources

  1. Your child’s skin can make vitamin D from the ultra-violet light in sunlight. So exposure to sunlight even for a short while as ten minutes without applying sunscreen is useful.
  2. Dietary sources such as certain fatty fish and egg yolks have abundant Vitamin –D.
  3. Vitamin D fortified cereals and dairy products
  4. You could consult your paediatrician to prescribe necessary Vitamin D supplements if you are unsure about your child’s adequate intake of vitamin D.

 

3. Bone Building Physical Activities

Any kind of physical exercise is great for your child but the best ones for their bones are activities like walking, running, hiking, dancing, tennis, basketball and gymnastics. Children who tend to play outside will also have higher vitamin D levels. Any physical workout or activity for one hour everyday will not only help your child in keeping fit but will also help in strengthening his/her bones.

4. Discourage carbonated drinks

Studies have showed that regular/ excessive intake of carbonated drinks is directly associated with lower bone mineral density.We need to encourage our children to have soya milk / milk and juices fortified with calcium and vitamins.

Prevention of osteoporosis begins in childhood. A healthy lifestyle and nutritious diet can be vital in promoting your child’s healthy bone health. Proper care in your child’s bone health will reap him rich rewards of strong bones later in life.

 

Parentune.com: Also Read 1. http://parentune.com/parenting-blog/herbs-that-heal/177 2. http://parentune.com/parenting-blog/foods-that-heal/184

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| Sep 16, 2017

thanks for awaring. Nice blog.

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| Jun 03, 2014

Thanks for sharing

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| Jan 18, 2014

Please let me know is it advisable to give children tetra pack milk. Like amul taaza

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| Oct 08, 2013

good

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| Jun 11, 2013

my doctor said it is due to calcium deficiency ,doctor has prescribed supplement for the same and also he is having enough milk also .please advise me how i will come to know whether his calcium in his body sufficient now .

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| Jun 11, 2013

my doctor said it is due to calcium deficiency ,doctor has prescribed supplement for the same and also he is having enough milk also .please advise me how i will come to know whether his calcium in his body sufficient now .

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| Jun 11, 2013

hi my son is 19 months old. he sweats a LOT even in cold climate

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| May 02, 2013

Hey,Bhavna.. i think there is some problem with the link u have given.. can u plz update it once more

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| May 02, 2013

Hey,Bhavna.. i think there is some problem with the link u have given.. can u plz update it once more

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| Apr 19, 2013

me too want to know wht is the ideal diet for the 3. 5yrs old child? Pls suggest.

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| Nov 06, 2012

Hi Bhavna can u advise a daily diet routine for a very active, fussy with no interest in food 3. 5 yr kid? . Thx

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| Nov 01, 2012

Hey Aparajita, are you reffering to the calcium intake of a 4 year old ... see another talk that we have on parent talk which will give you a clear idea what to give to your energetic son to fulfill his daily nutrient requirements... here is the link ... https://www.parentune.com/parent-talk/milk-battle/174

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| Oct 27, 2012

is one glass of milk a day sufficient to meet the said needs for a 4 yr old active child?

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| Oct 26, 2012

So true, what we eat in our early years determines how we would fair in the later years, more so for our calcium intake. Not many people know that if the body is deficient in calcium, it is programmed to rob the bones of calcium to fulfill its other calcium needs.. this leads to brittle and weak bones in later years. The recommended daily allowance or RDA of calcium for children (4-8 yrs) is 1,000 mg a day and for 9–13 years : 1,300 mg a day.

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| Oct 20, 2012

i think they can take 4 a day

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| Oct 19, 2012

how many almonds can be given to a 3 year old child? My daughter loves almonds but someone told me that we should not give more than 2 almonds a day to children. Is this correct? I understand that excess is wrong but what is a generally acceptable quantity?

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