- Top Brain Foods for Children Slideshow
- Children's Illnesses Slideshow Pictures
- Take the ADHD Quiz
- Find a local Pediatric Rheumatologist in your town
- Why is childhood such an important time for bone development?
- What is osteoporosis? Isn't it something old people get?
- How can I help keep my kids' bones healthy?
- How can I persuade my daughter to drink milk instead of diet soda? She thinks milk will make her fat.
- But my kids don't like milk.
- My teenage son loves milk, but it seems to upset his stomach. Could he have lactose intolerance?
- My daughter is constantly dieting. Should I be concerned?
- Should I give my kids calcium supplements?
- How does physical activity help my kids' bones?
- Is it possible to get too much exercise?
- What else can my kids do besides eating calcium-rich foods and getting plenty of weight-bearing exercise to keep their bones healthy?
- My son has asthma and takes a steroid medication to control it. His doctor said this might affect his bones. Is there anything we can do about this?
- My 8-year-old son is a daredevil and has already broken several bones. could he have a problem like osteoporosis at this young age?
- How can I get through to my kids? They sure don't think about their bones.
- Where can I go for more information?
How Can I Help Keep My Kids' Bones Healthy?
The same healthy habits that keep your kids going and growing will also benefit their bones. One of the best ways to encourage healthy habits in your children is to be a good role model yourself. Believe it or not, your kids are watching, and your habits, both good and bad, have a strong influence on theirs.
The two most important lifelong bone health habits to encourage now are proper nutrition and plenty of physical activity.
Eating for healthy bones means getting plenty of foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. Most kids get enough vitamin D from sunlight (or from foods like egg yolks or fortified milk), but most do not get enough calcium in their diets to help ensure optimal peak bone mass. Are your kids getting enough calcium?
Recommended Calcium Intakes
|Age||Amount of calcium|
Birth to 6 months
6 months to 1 year
1 to 3 years
4 to 8 years
9 to 18 years
|Adult Women and Men
19 to 50 years
Pregnant or Lactating Women
18 years or younger
19 to 50 years
|Source: National Academy of Sciences, 1997.|
Calcium is found in many foods, but the most common source is milk and other dairy products. Drinking one 8-oz glass of milk provides 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium, which is about one-third of the recommended intake for younger children and about one-fourth of the recommended intake for teens. In addition, milk supplies other minerals and vitamins needed by the body. The chart on the next page lists the calcium content for several high-calcium foods and beverages. Your kids need several servings of these foods each day to meet their need for calcium.