It’s not your imagination that kids are breaking more bones now than their parents did. A Mayo Clinic study published in JAMA discovered that forearm fractures have risen more than 32% in boys, and 56% in girls in the past 30 years. The Mayo clinic study also found a correlation between forearm fractures and an increased risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis later in life. Focusing on kids’ bone health now, can have immediate and far-reaching benefits.
Getting the right nutrients for bones is important for kids, because peak bone mass is reached before the age of 25, according to The International Osteoporosis Foundation. A number of different dietary and lifestyle factors could be linked to the rise in fractures and causing kids to not maximize their bone growth:
- Mineral depletion of our soil & food processing = mineral depleted foods
- Poor dietary choices = necessary vitamins and minerals are not being consumed
- Hypercalcuria = minerals being excreted too fast
- Celiac disease/Digestive Disorders = malabsorption-related deficiencies
- Lack of sunshine = vitamin D deficiencies
- Lack of exercise = not enough force put on bones
- Cheap Supplements = low quality poorly absorbed ingredients and/or lacking important co-factors
A common misconception is that kids who drink plenty of milk are getting all the nutrients they need for strong bones. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “most people need more vitamin D than they can get from drinking three glasses of milk—and they need less calcium than three glasses of milk provide.” Because high dairy intake has been associated with an increase in prostate and ovarian cancers, Harvard Public Health suggests for people who enjoy dairy to limit it to 1-2 glasses a day, and/or take a supplement with calcium and vitamin D. Building strong bones is not just dependent on calcium, but a synergistic combination of vitamins, minerals, impact exercise and other factors. If any of the key bone-building factors is out of balance, it can derail bone health.
Getting exercise is an important component of building strong bones, especially impact exercise. If your child has broken a bone, it might just be the result of a forceful impact – broken bones can be an unfortunate side effect of many sports and physical activities. But if bone density is not strong, even a light impact to the bone can lead to a fracture. If there is a deficiency or something amiss, identifying and correcting it early can help kids to get back on track to ensure they develop optimal bone density during their important bone-building years.
Read Sara’s blog: Building Strong Bones in Kids for more information.