Why Kids Need More Than Just Calcium For Bone Health

As kids, we were told to drink lots of milk to ensure that we grew up with strong, healthy bones. What you may not have realised is that there’s more to bone health than just calcium.

Did you know that the bones in your body reach their maximum strength and density by approximately 18 years for girls and age 20 for boys? Bone development starts in the womb, but optimal bone growth occurs in childhood and teens with around 40% of their bone mass (the amount of bone tissue in the skeleton) being built between 9 and 14 years of age.

So you can see how nurturing your child’s bone health during these growing years can play an important part in ongoing bone density and strength in later life.

What do bones need?

Calcium is necessary for bone health, but it’s not the only requirement. In order for calcium to be absorbed properly into our bones we need Vitamin D. So be sure to send the kids out for some fresh air and sunshine (whilst being sun smart) after their glass of milk!

Other nutrients that are important for bone health include magnesium (for flexibility), zinc, manganese, and boron.

For foods that cater to many of these requirements, you can’t go past leafy green vegetables like lettuce, spinach, rocket, and seaweed, or veggies from the brassica family (broccoli, bok choy, cabbage). They contain calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. They’re also alkaline foods that can help to lower the acidity in the blood. As calcium is also used by the body to reduce acidity, eating these foods can help to ensure that more of the body’s supply of calcium is retained for bone growth.

Other sources of essential minerals and vitamins for bone health include meat, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, dairy products, and eggs.

The importance of exercise

Another way to support your child’s bone health is to ensure that they are engaging in weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercise is movement that makes you move against gravity whilst on your feet and can assist in building bone density. Examples are jogging, skipping, dancing, basketball, netball, tennis, etc.

her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”

Leave A Comment