Every parent wants to see their child grow up healthy and strong, and it’s important to us that you get to do that. A major part of kids’ growth is developing a healthy bone structure, since about 90 percent of a person’s bone mass develops before the age of 20. Developing healthy bone mass is critical to ensuring that children have strong bones their whole lives. In order to build strong bones, kids need to be properly nourished and taught bone-healthy habits. Here are some ways you can help your kids develop healthy bones now and in the future.
Why Are Strong Bones Important?
Our bones are organs, just like every other part of our bodies. They are constantly changing and adapting by replacing old bone with new bone, even if the bone hasn’t been damaged or broken by outside forces. Healthy bones allow us to move, help make blood, and protect our bodies from harm. Good bone health starts young, and adult bones are likely to be stronger if they have a good start from childhood.
Studies show that the healthier kids’ bones are, the less likely they will be to develop diseases like osteoporosis (which results in brittle bones) later in life. In addition, good bone health can contribute to preventing other health conditions. Some of these conditions include:
- Bone cancer
- Paget disease of bone (abnormally large, weakened bones)
How to Help Kids Build Their Bones
Parents help their children form healthy habits every day. From a young age, adults can help children understand what kinds of foods and vitamins help form strong bones. Specific needs vary depending on the child, so consult with your pediatrician about a nutrition plan.
Calcium is the mineral that’s most commonly associated with strong bone growth. Dairy products, meats, and vegetables tend to have high volumes of calcium. The following foods are good to incorporate into a child’s diet:
- Fish (salmon and tuna)
Some foods are also sold fortified with extra calcium, like orange juice and certain cereals, and there are plenty of ways to creatively get these foods into your kids’ meals, such as by preparing oatmeal with milk instead of water.
Much of our bodies’ Vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun, which is part of why it’s so important for kids and adults alike to play outside. However, Vitamin D can also be found in high amounts in multiple kinds of foods, many of which also provide calcium. Some of these foods include:
This mineral isn’t often thought of when considering healthy bones, but it’s just as important to your child’s growth as anything else. Some foods that contain magnesium include:
- Black beans
- Peanut butter
This vitamin is commonly found in many different green foods, including:
- Turnip greens
If your kids don’t like to eat their greens, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate them into their diets, such as through soups and smoothies.
Supplements and Multivitamins
While it’s best to get the right amount of these vitamins through the food and drinks that your kids consume, it may also be necessary to give them supplements to further build their bones. Your pediatrician can recommend one to you based on your child’s overall health and eating patterns.
While nutrition is an important factor that contributes to bone health, it’s not the only thing you can do to help your child build strong bones. Regular exercise has many health benefits for children, and the following activities in particular are good for bone development:
- Weight training
Helping Your Child Eat Well
Many children are picky eaters early in life, leaving parents to find ways to convince them to eat foods that are good for them. We love to invest in children in order to prepare them for healthy and bright futures, so if you need help teaching your child proper nutrition for healthy bones, we’d be happy to assist you. Contact us today!