~ Dr Rajesh Badiyani, Sr. Joint Replacement and Orthopaedic Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi – A Fortis Network Hospital ~
Maintaining bone health is very important at each stage of one’s life, right from childhood. Bones are the most essential structure for children to help in the overall healthy growth of the body. A child’s bones keep developing as the child grows; fastest during toddlerhood and puberty years. Parents should be watchful and maintain the eating habits of their kids, which in turn will benefit their bones. Parents act as a mirror to a child; children follow parental habits and maintain the rules passed on to them, good and bad. It is very important for the parent to ensure the child is given proper and sufficient nutrition, also engaging them in physical activities. Bone growth is complete when they become thicker and longer, what is known as ‘peak bone mass’, which is the maximum size and strength of the bone. This is dependent on genetic factors which play a major role; it usually takes place between the ages of 18-25 years.
If a child does not receive proper amount of Calcium in his diet, it might lead to weakening of bones. By following these factors, a child’s bone health can have maximum benefit, ensuring substantial and overall growth of the child:
Calcium: Is the most significant nutrient to ensure sturdy bone growth especially vital during the puberty stage when bone growth is at its peak. On an average, puberty usually takes place between 11-15yrs amongst girls and 12-16yrs amongst boys. Most children in these age groups do not get enough amount of calcium as they often tend to excessively consume junk food. Foods which contain rich amounts of calcium include dairy foods: Milk (Non-fat), cheese, yoghurt, dark green leafy vegetables- bok choy, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, including soya.
Vitamin D: Is an important element to ensure the building of bones as it helps the body absorb calcium. Children with deficiency of Vitamin D are at a very high risk of weak bones, which can lead to stunted growth. This can further lead to Rickets(bone disease caused due to lack of Vitamin D, leading to softening and weakening of bones) amongst children. Ensuring sufficient amount of milk intake and sunlight on a daily basis can set a child to grow up strong and healthy.
Healthy Eating: It is important to ensure that your child has a healthy and well balanced diet which contains adequate amount of nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese, yoghurt, soya bean, cereals, nuts which are rich in calcium that keep the bones healthy. Consuming excessive amounts of sweets, salts and aerated drinks can hamper the growth process, weaken the bones and also lead to other health disorders.
According to Dr Rajesh Badiyani, Sr. Joint Replacement and Orthopaedic Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi – A Fortis Network Hospital, said, “It is vital to take care of your child’s health, especially in the early years when the bones are growing and they require sufficient amount of nutrients, vitamins and calcium to help appropriate growth and development.”