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Your Children and Healthy Bones

Helping children build healthy bones is an important job that all parents should know how to do. Children build half of their bone mass during adolescence and reach their peak bone mass by age twenty. The three most important factors for building healthy, strong bones in your children are:
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D (from sunlight exposure)
  • Exercise.
Poor nutrition, lack of outdoor activities and lack of exercise have health experts very concerned as cases of rickets in are rising fast in American children. Rickets is a childhood bone disease that is typically seen only in third world developing countries. It causes the bones to ache and to become deformed starting at a young age.

According to Dr. James Beaty, President of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, "There's some early data showing that even a 10 percent deficit in your bone mass when you finish your adolescent years can increase your potential risk of having osteoporosis and fractures as much as 50 percent".

When it comes to American children, the experts believe that poor nutrition combined with too much TV, Internet and computer game time is an issue that parents need to address immediately. "This potentially is a time-bomb," says Dr. Laura Tosi, bone health chief at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C.

What's the solution? Good nutrition, sunshine and exercise.

Calcium is the building block of healthy bones. Foods which are good sources of calcium include yogurt, nuts, fruits, vegetables, dried beans, brown rice beverages, molasses and leafy greens.

The best source of vitamin D is natural sunlight, that's why getting outdoors is so important for your children. When the kids are playing outdoors they are getting both exercise and vitamin D.