Bone Health in Children

by TOI Admin April 11, 2017

When most hear the word Osteoporosis or the subject of bone health is addressed, their first thought may not be directed to children.  According to experts, childhood is the most important time to set the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy bones. Almost half of the skeleton’s density is formed over the course of puberty. The bone health of children and adolescents is becoming increasingly important, resulting in a higher demand for more accurate diagnostic and therapeutic tools to assess bone health.

The journal Pediatrics suggests the time to work on strengthening your bones is during childhood and adolescents and stresses that waiting until your 50’s to start working on fixing your bones is too late. Studies have found that over the past four decades there has been an increase in childhood fractures ranging from 35% to 65% but have not yet found the cause. What they have found are deficiencies in calcium, Vitamin D and absence of physical activity does increase the risk of fractures.

Suspicious fractures include the spine, hip or femur with the exception of the fractures being caused by a motor vehicle accident. Finding out how the fractures occurred is an important factor. If it occurred at standing height or less it can be a cause for concern.

80% of bone density is related to genetics making family history a large factor as well.

The clinical report on bone density published in Pediatrics advises parents to watch for three red flags:

  • If two or more fractures have occurred prior to age 10
  • If three or more fractures have occurred prior to age 19
  • Child experiences a vertebral fracture that cannot be explained by a disease or traumatic accident.

A 2014 review article in the journal of Bone and Mineral Research sites a study that discovered physical activity such as jumping for only 10 minutes a day, three times a week resulted in increased bone mass. Calcium recommendations for children under nine are 800 milligrams a day. Children over the age of nine should get 1,300 milligrams a day.


Reedy, Sumathi “Bone Density Is Important for Children, Too.” The Wallstreet Journal October 2016



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