According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 40 million Americans are at risk for developing osteoporosis- a disease that makes bones weak, brittle and more prone to fractures. However, the effects are not immediate. Osteoporosis is a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences. Preventing broken bones later in life starts in childhood and continues as a young adult with healthy lifestyle habits.
Tone the Bones with these tips to prevent fractures and osteoporosis in the future:
More Milk Please
Healthy bones need the mineral calcium. The best foods sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese, cereal and dark green leafy vegetables. Research shows that children and teens are drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages and less milk. Adding one more serving of milk - either at meals or snacks- is an easy way to close the calcium gap and enjoy the bone building benefits of dairy.
Enjoy the Sun
Vitamin D or the “Sunshine Vitamin” is made in the body with the help of UV rays and aids in absorption of calcium. While sunlight is the top source; other sources of vitamin D include salmon, eggs, milk, butter, tuna and mushrooms. The overuse of sun screen and lack of outside play have been cited as reasons children are vitamin D deficient. This deficiency resulted in the Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that adolescents double up on vitamin D requirements for optimal bone growth.
Aim to be Active
Daily physical activity is a healthy habit for all families. Aim for 30 minutes each day, most days of the week. Weight-bearing activities like walking, running, hiking, climbing, dancing and lifting weights are necessary to prevent fractures and maintain healthy bones.
Remember, it is never too late or too early to make better bone health a family priority.
For more nutrition information about bone health and delicious recipes to boost your bone health, visit www.southeastdairy.org.