Eat sardines. Exercise. Don’t smoke.

What do the following have in common: sardines, exercise and not smoking? They all play a role in building healthy bones.  So sardines aren’t the only option and there is more to it than adequate calcium intake, exercise and not smoking.

In order to get the lowdown on childhood bone health, I have condensed following information from National Institutes of Health.

Why is childhood such an important time for bone development?

Peak bone mass is achieved in your early 20s, after which bone density begins declining.  Investing in your child’s bone health early on is like a savings bank upon which they will draw for the rest of his life.

Factors affecting bone health:

Gender Boys achieve higher peak bone density than girls.  Boys acquire more bone density after puberty.
Race African American girls achieve higher peak bone density than Caucasian girls. However, all women are at risk of osteoporosis – so girls need to build as much bone density as possible.
Hormonal Factors Sex hormones play a role in bone mass development.  Girls how menstruate early and regularly tend to have greater bone density.
Nutrition Status Calcium is key. Calcium deficiencies in young people can account for a 5- to 10-percent lower peak bone mass.Other nutrients affecting bone health include: magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin D.
Physical Activity Weight-bearing activities help build healthy bones.

How much calcium do my kids need?

Age mg/day
0 to 6 months 200
6 to 12 months 260
1 to 3 years 700
4 to 8 years 1,000
9 to 18 years 1,300
19 to 30 years 1,000

Calcium Rich Foods:

Food Calcium (mg) Daily Value (%)
Sardines, canned in oil, with bones, 3 oz.

324

32

Cheddar cheese, 1½ oz., shredded

306

31

Milk, nonfat, 8 fl oz.

302

30

Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 oz.

300

30

Milk, reduced fat (2% milk fat), no solids, 8 fl oz.

297

30

Milk, whole (3.25% milk fat), 8 fl oz.

291

29

Milk, buttermilk, 8 fl oz.

285

29

Milk, lactose reduced, 8 fl oz. (varies with fat content)

285 to 302

29 to 30

Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 2 cups unpacked

276

28

Mozzarella, part skim, 1½ oz.

275

28

Tofu, firm, with calcium, ½ cup*

204

20

Orange juice, calcium fortified, 6 fl oz.

200 to 260

20 to 26

Salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone, 3 oz.

181

18

Pudding, chocolate, instant, made with 1/2C 2% milk

153

15

Tofu, soft, with calcium, ½ cup*

138

14

Orange breakfast drink, prepared with 8 oz water

133

13

Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve, ½ cup

103

10

Ready to eat cereal, calcium fortified, 1 cup

100 to 1000

10 to 100

Turnip greens, boiled, ½ cup

99

10

Kale, raw, 1 cup

90

9

Kale, cooked, 1 cup

94

9

Ice cream, vanilla, ½ cup

85

8.5

Soy beverage, calcium fortified, 8 fl oz.

80 to 500

8 to 50

Chinese cabbage, raw, 1 cup

74

7

Tortilla, corn, ready to bake/fry, 1 medium

42

4

Tortilla, flour, ready to bake/fry, one 6″ diameter

37

4

Sour cream, reduced fat, cultured, 2 tbsp

32

3

Bread, white, 1 oz.

31

3

Broccoli, raw, ½ cup

21

2

Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice

20

2

Cheese, cream, regular, 1 tbsp

12

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does physical activity help build bones?

Just like muscles, the more you use your bones, the stronger they get.  Focus on weight-bearing exercises like walking, tennis, running, volleyball, hiking, hockey, dancing, skiing, soccer, skateboarding, gymnastics, skating, basketball, lifting weights, jumping rope, or aerobics.

Can my kids exercise too much?

Like with any good thing, you can get too much exercise.  Excessive exercise, overtraining and/or restrictive diets can result in thin bones that break easily.  Work to maintain a healthy weight and exercise in moderation.

Other things that may affect peak bone density:

Disease Medications Behaviors
Juvenile arthritis Anticonvulsants Prolonged inactivity
Diabetes mellitus Corticosteroids Inadequate nutrition
Osteogensis imperfecta Immunosuppressants Excessive exercise
Hyperthyroidism Smoking
Hyper Parathyroidism Alcohol abuse
Cushings syndrome
Malabsorption
Anorexia nervosa
Kidney & Liver disease

 

The preceding was condensed from the National Institutes of Health.

 

About

Maggie McMahon is a businesswoman with more than decade of experience building and growing new organizations. She believes that learning should be fun, but recognizes that frustration and worry or boredom and routine can sometimes get in the way. Maggie is excited about building a learning environment that helps kids grow into their confidence and success. Maggie is married and has two children.

Posted in Kid's Health, Parenting Tagged with: ,

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