BOOK JOAN

Osteoporosis: Bank Enough Bone for a Lifetime

Growing up healthy

Growing Up Healthy

Children's Health / / May 23, 2008

Is there any parent among us who doesn't want to stay physically fit and active throughout our lives? And is there any parent who doesn't long for that same mobility for their children as they age? Of course—no one wants their children to experience hip or vertebrae fractures in the future.

Childhood is a unique period for preventing osteoporosis. It is the ideal time for building and storing reserves of good bone. From pregnancy to early adult life, more bone is being formed than is being lost. Subsequently, from our early thirties for women and early forties for men, more bone is being lost than deposited.

We've all heard over and over again that calcium is the key to building strong bones. That's why it's imperative that we give our children the maximum amount of calcium to protect them from bone loss as they age and instill in them the importance of exercise in building strong bones. This is especially important for our daughters, who are ten times more likely to suffer osteoporosis later in life than our sons. After menopause, bone loss increases again. If we haven't deposited good bone reserves in childhood, our daughters won't have enough bone to draw on for support and will end up with thin, weak, brittle bones—the hallmark of osteoporosis.

I hope you now have a clearer picture and a deeper understanding of that critical link between the foods we feed our children and their risk of developing chronic adult diseases.

The challenge doesn't have to be complicated. It's up to all of us to become proactive parents and dedicate ourselves to lowering our children's risk for these diseases. By making the necessary nutritional and lifestyle changes, it can be done.

I strongly believe that whether you're expecting a child, are the parent of a newborn, a toddler, a school-age child, or an adolescent, if they're under your guidance, then you still have the chance to offer them the gift of a healthy, disease-free life.

Categories: Children's Health
About The Author
Growing up healthy
In Growing Up Healthy, Joan Lunden, one of America's most trusted journalists and most visible working moms, teams up with Dr. Myron Winick, a leading expert in childhood nutrition, to produce a guide that contains the lifesaving knowledge we all need to shield our children from disease and help them grow into strong, fit adults.
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