Bone Health for Kids:
Here are some basic facts about bone health for kids. Use this checklist when teaching groups of kids or your own children. Involve them by asking the questions and waiting for the answers. It’s really fun!
How many bones in an adult human body?
- There are more in a kid’s body, as some bones haven’t fused together. More than half of our bones are in the hands and feet!
Does a human or a giraffe have more bones in their neck?
- They’re the same!
Peak ages for bone density and growth is 9-12 years of age. By age 17, 90% of bone mass is established.
Think of bones like a bank account: You put in calcium until you reach the age of 18, then the bank is closed and you can only withdraw.
Sources of calcium:
Dark, leafy greens such as collard greens and kale, spinach, chard, and bok choy.
Calcium-fortified orange juice and tofu.
Milk also contains vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium
How much calcium do you need a day as kids?
- 1300 mg, 1100 mg for adults
What else is good for bone health?
- Exercise! Weight-bearing exercise is particularly good for bones. This can be from light weight lifting or by using their own weight for weight bearing exercise; such as you do with pushups.
Osteoporosis means porous bones. Ask the kids if they know what this word means. Explain that porous bones are weak bones.
What is not good for bone health?
Phosphoric Acid, which is found in sodas. It interferes with calcium absorption.
Caffeine also interferes with calcium absorption.
Kids like this next one and I am always surprised at how many kids know the meaning of the word. Ask them, do you know what ‘Euphemism’ means? Definition: The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive. Here is a real life example of a euphemism; ‘Energy’ drinks. ‘Energy drinks’ only give you short-term energy while doing a lot of damage to your good health.
Supplements: Vitamin D- 400 IU/day. Please ask your health professional for supplement advice.
Kids want strong bones and once they know the facts; they are more likely to lessen their soda and caffeine intake and increase bone-health foods.