6Powerful Parents’ Corner PREVENTING
AS BONES IN THE BODY grow they are in a constant state of building, breaking down, and rebuilding. During this process, calcium and other minerals are taken up and released and regained by the bone as it develops. Many factors—hormones, genetics, gender, race, diseases, diet, local factors, and lifestyle—influence this process. Rapid bone growth is most pronounced in children and adolescence, particularly those aged 9 to 17 years old. In this period of remarkable development, bones build up faster than they break down, eventually reaching their maximum size and strength by early adulthood. Through the late 20s, bones will continue to store up calcium and grow, after which they start breaking down faster, slowly growing weaker as the person ages. Thus, bone-healthy habits should be started as early as possible. The more that bones are strengthened in childhood, the lesser the risk of the child for disorders like osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
6 BONE BOOSTERS
There are many things parents can do to ensure sturdy, healthy bones for their kids.
Be a role model. Adopt a diet and a lifestyle that promote healthy bones of your own. When children see their parents practicing healthy habits, they will want to do the same.
Build up on calcium stores early. Provide adequate amounts of calcium. When calcium is not available in the diet, the body’s tissues and organs that are in need of calcium, like the muscles, will get it from bone stores. When planning meals or preparing snacks and beverages, choose calcium-rich foods over processed foods, soft drinks, commercial snacks, and salty chips.
FamilyMatters | September-November 2016
Childhood through adolescence is the peak period to increase your child’s calcium stores and ensure future bone health. By ROSS VALENTIN, By ROSSM.D. VALENTIN, M.D.