Easy Ways to Ensure Your Kids Have Strong Healthy Bones
Do you know if your kid’s bones are healthy? Strong bones are like the foundations and support walls of a building. If they are strong, the building is strong and can weather all sorts of conditions for many years. Your kids Bone health is important because it’s while we’re young, that we can make the greatest impact on how healthy our bones are later in life.
Healthy Bones Australia encourages all Aussies to take care of their bone health. Children (and their Mums and Dads) need calcium plus exercise plus sunshine every day for healthy bones for life.
Calcium requirements for kids
If your child is aged between 4-8 years they should aim to have 2-3 serves of calcium-rich foods each day to reach a total intake of 700mg/day (this is the equivalent of a glass of milk, a slice of cheese and a tub of yoghurt).
Older children (9-11 years), and teens (12-18 years), should aim to have 3 serves of calcium-rich foods each day to reach a total intake of 1000-1300mg/day as this is a period of rapid bone growth (try adding an extra some dried apricots and figs to their lunchbox, and let them have that extra glass of Milo after school).
Exercise requirements for kids
Bones need weight-bearing exercise (exercise while on your feet so you can bear your own weight). Running, jumping and skipping are all simple everyday activities your children probably naturally enjoy. Younger children do this every day in the school yard and don’t even know they are doing a great job looking after their bones.
For teenagers it’s a little harder – after all you have to pull them away from their iPod! Encourage them to play weight-bearing sports at school such as: basketball and volleyball. Dancing to music on the iPod is also great exercise.
Sunshine requirements for kids
We all need a little sunshine. For Brisbane kids, 6-7mins is all they need in summer and 10mins in winter, to meet their required daily level of sunshine for healthy bones.
Exposure in summer is recommended at mid-morning or mid- afternoon (10am or 2pm) to avoid peak UV periods and harmful UV rays.
Easy-to-use bone-health calculator
Life can get busy so to help you stay on track of your kids bone health (and your own) we’ve developed an easy to use bone-health calculator. The calculator takes into account: age, gender and location and will assist you in helping to understand if you’re kids are getting enough calcium, plus exercise, plus sunshine each day.
To sign up for the calculator: http://www.healthybonesaustralia.org.au/score/
The good news is that you are probably already doing most of what you need to keep your bones, and your kid’s bones, strong. This program is about being aware of your bone health and tweaking certain things you probably do already. For more information, please visit our website: www.healthybonesaustralia.org.au. For updates and fun tips for Healthy Bones ‘like’ our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HealthyBonesAustralia or follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HBAscore.
The Brisbane Kids Parenting 101 area of the website shares lots of ways to help you on your parenting journey, including 10 Ways to Get Your Kids Eating More Vegies and The 1 Minute Meditation Technique That Will Change Your Life.