If you think you seeing more broken bones today than in the past, you are right. According to a Mayo Clinic study, forearm fractures have risen over 30% in boys, and over 50% in girls in the past 3 decades.
Does It Really Do a Body Good?
A common misconception is that drinking plenty of milk is all you need to build strong bones. But let’s take a look at some facts:
So if milk doesn’t do some bodies good after all, how should kids get their calcium and build strong bones?
Four tips for building strong bones:
1. Try to include some non-dairy sources of calcium in the diet each day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following calcium intakes: 500mg per day (1-3 year olds), 800mg per day (4-8 year olds), 1300mg per day (9-18 year olds).
Non-dairy sources of calcium:
2. Make sure your kids are getting the necessary co-factors.
Calcium tends to get all the credit for building strong bones, but there are certain co-factors needed to get the calcium into the bones. Consider this analogy: a moving company would never send a truck and just one worker. In order to move heavy items and get them delivered to the right place, that mover is going to need helpers. Similarly, without the right helpers (co-factors), all the calcium can’t be delivered into the bones.
Key Calcium Co-Factors:
Vitamin D – Critical for calcium absorption, low levels of vitamin D can be associated with rickets and osteoporosis. The best source is the sun, and so using sunscreen blocks the skin from not only the UVA/UVB rays, but also vitamin D. It is estimated that 70% of Americans are now deficient in vitamin D. Severely low levels are also linked to an increase in certain cancers. The AAP recommends 400 IU of vitamin D per day for children, although that could be inadequate if blood levels are extremely low. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns. Sources:
Magnesium – The forth most abundant mineral in the body and needed for more than 300 biochemical processes, including helping Vitamin D to be absorbed. About two thirds of all magnesium in our body is found in our bones. It is estimated that over 70% of the population is deficient in magnesium. Learn more about the RDA for magnesium and more. Sources:
Vitamin K – Best known for it’s role in managing blood clotting, vitamin K also plays a key role in making sure calcium gets delivered to the bones, and not to the arteries (poorly absorbed and high dose calcium can raise the risk of arterial calcification & heart attack). Sources:
It is also important for bones to get trace minerals which can be found in sea or pink Himalayan salt, and other foods grown in mineral rich soils.
Try making this bone-building Choco-banana super smoothie – which contains calicium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, trace minerals, and more!
3. Get Kids Moving!
A study published Pediatrics found that sedentary teens had lower bone density by age 18 than more active ones. The importance of weight bearing activities for bones is demonstrated by astronauts – they can experience a 30% decrease in bone strength after just 6 months spent in space without gravity. Although swimming and riding a scooter is better than sitting on the couch; activities that have impact like gymnastics and jumping rope is better for building bones. Impact exercise puts stress on the bones, which causes the bones to become stronger and more dense.
4. Know Your Bone ‘Foes’
There are a number of foods and substances that can work against the bone building process.
*Foods are the body’s best source of nutrition, as they contain a synergistic combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to be best used and absorbed by the body, but high quality supplements can help to fill in the gaps. Read more about choosing a quality calcium supplement.
Watch Sara talk about Building Strong Bones in Kids on Fox 5 San Diego.
Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.
©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.
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[…] of calcium, but there are some potential downsides to getting our calcium from dairy products (read Got Fractures?). Fortunately there are excellent non-dairy sources of calcium – with dark green vegetables […]
[…] of calcium, it is about absorbing the calcium and it’s co-factors into the bones. Read Got Fractures? to learn more about the nutrients needed to build strong […]
[…] plenty of calcium, it is about absorbing the calcium and it’s co-factors into the bones. Read Got Fractures? to learn more about the nutrients needed to build strong […]
[…] to be absorbed into bone. Even milk is missing some of the key co-factors for absorption. Read Got Fractures? for more information about building strong bones in kids. The calcium supplement that I recommend is […]
© copyright 2015 Sara Vance