How can I help my kids have strong bones?

Bones are made up of living tissue that’s continuously being built up and broken down. They provide structure to our bodies, protect vital organs, give muscles a place to attach and also provide a storage reservoir for calcium.1 The majority of bone mass accumulates during childhood and adolescence, making these years critical for bone development and the prevention of osteoporosis in the future.2 So how can you help your kids build healthy, strong bones?

Firstly, it’s important to understand the two factors that play a role in the development of weak, brittle bones later in life. The development of osteoporosis is influenced both by the peak bone mass achieved in the first two to three decades of life and also by the rate at which bone is lost in later years.2

This first factor highlights the importance of promoting bone health awareness among parents and their kids. Fortunately, laying down good foundations for future bone health is easier than you maythink. Follow these guidelines to give your kids the best start in life:

  1. Make sure they get enough calcium

    Calcium is essential for bone health, as it provides them with strength and rigidity. Most people should be able to get enough calcium through eating a healthy diet. Calcium rich foods include milk, yoghurt, cheese, sardines, broccoli, peas, kidney beans and figs.3

  2. Get them moving

    Just like muscles, bones get stronger with the more exercise they get. Try and encourageyour kids to be as physically active as possible. This will help build strong bones that will serve them well through life. All exercise is good, but weight bearing exercises are best for improving bone strength. These include things like walking, running, tennis, gymnastics and soccer.4

  3. Soak up some sun

    Our skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, which is important for strong, healthy bones. We need around 5‐10 minutes of sun exposure every day during summer and longer periods during the cooler winter months. To reduce the risks associated with sun exposure, make sure to avoid the sun during peak UV periods.5