Help Your Child Develop Healthy Bones
“Ensure your child eats a healthy diet with the right quantities of bones essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D”
The need for healthy bones would have rarely crossed your mind, but a healthy skeleton is an absolute prerequisite in all phases of life, whether it is early or later in life, because healthy bones help you move with ease and strength. Healthy bones also packs a punch into your actions and keeps the framework of your body in good shape.
We all aspire to have a healthy heart, mind, kidneys, liver or eyes, but it is most likely that ‘bone health’ is not what you are thinking of, when you think in terms of leading a healthy, buoyant life, Nevertheless, believe it or not, there is more to bone health than that meets the eye or your thoughts and the reasons are many!
Why Bone Health Is Vital
Poor development of bones early in life can result in a condition known as rickets in children. This disease occurs in children between three to 18 months of age and causes the bones to become soft and weak, resulting in them being bowed and curved. The end result is a misshaped or deformed skeleton, pain, fragile bones and deformities of the skeleton such as bowed legs, curvature of the spine, thickening of ankles, wrists, knees and poor growth and development.
Children with rickets are more prone to fractures and other conditions like pneumonia and gastroenteritis (infection of the stomach and bowels). And as if these were not enough, healthy bones also form a barrier to disorders like osteoporosis, a condition which is thought to be an adult problem where bones are brittle and break easily causing fractures.
Osteoporosis is a huge problem worldwide, accounting for extensive immobility and death. And according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), annually, around 8.9 million fractures occur worldwide. Doctors and the medical fraternity often refer to osteoporosis as ‘a childhood disorder with old age in good health and well-being.’
Have you ever wondered why they claim so? This is simply because of the fact that bone mass (a measure of bone density), often referred to as Bone Mineral Density (BMD), which is attained during childhood and adolescent years, is an important determinant of lifelong skeletal health and in turn, osteoporosis.
Bone Health In Childhood
To begin with, bones are like living tissues that keep changing continuously. They are like banks where new bone tissue is deposited and old ones are withdrawn on a regular basis. The bones grow fastest in early childhood and during puberty. It is also during this time that they grow in size and density.
Bone mass thus continues to accumulate on bones from early childhood until puberty. In the case of most people, bone mass peaks around the age of 20. For example. in the case of girls, it is around 18 years of age and in boys it is around 20 years of age that their bone mass reaches its maximum limits. Here after, withdrawal of bone mass begins.
While in most cases it happens slowly after 20 years of age, it picks up momentum after 30 years of age. And hence, the importance of building and maintaining strong bones in your early years of life.
How To Build Bone Health
Commit To Start Early
Pay attention to the bone health of your children. Start as early as when they are babies. Pay attention to various factors like their diet, exercise, exposure to the sun, health etc.
Ensure The Correct Diet
Make sure your children are eating a healthy diet with the right quantities of bone essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, as it Is another vital way to ensure they are developing healthy and strong bones.
Include An Exercise Routine
There have been studies showing that teens who sit more, have lower bone density than those whose physical activity levels are high. Hence, nothing builds bone strength as exercise does. When exercise Is added to one’s lifestyle, the body is put through stress and strain and it hits back by actually becoming stronger and denser.
Bone health taken care of during early childhood and puberty ensure healthy bones lifelong. So, pay heed and act on it early in life, to reap rich dividends. For adults, it is vital that you quit smoking and cut down on caffeine, because both have deleterious effects on bone health.