Bone Health In Children: Here's What Experts Want You To Know

Children's bone disease is a term that describes conditions that affect bone strength, growth, and overall health in children.

Bone Health In Children: Here's What Experts Want You To Know

A calcium-rich diet and regular exercise can help maintain healthy bones in kids

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many lives. It has also affected the health of children across the country. Parents are frequently anxious about how they will care for their children while working and learning at home and how they will stay calm during this unexpected epidemic. Children's bone disease is a term that describes conditions that affect bone strength, growth, and overall health in children. The bones of children are continually growing and changing. The growth plate is a susceptible area of the bone where growth-related injuries can develop. During growth remodeling, old bone is eventually replaced by new bone tissue. Many growth anomalies may improve or worsen as the child grows. Other bone abnormalities can be passed down through the generations or arise spontaneously in childhood.

Melissa Romer, a physiotherapist, based in Mumbai, suggests that "Breastfeeding plays a significant role in developing the bone formation. If a mother can, she should breastfeed for 2 years as per the guidelines provided by WHO. Besides, children should engage in high-impact activities such as jumping, which help in bone formation. Parents should also play sports and games with their kids to make them aware of the problems. Exposure to sunlight for 10 minutes before 11 am is also beneficial for bone health."


Sunlight exposure can help maintain healthy bones
Photo Credit: iStock

One of the most common problems seen in children is scoliosis. This spine-related condition will only worsen due to carrying heavy bags to school, sitting improperly on the couch while watching television, or generally poor posture.

How do you identify if a child has scoliosis?

One shoulder appears higher. One hip just out more, one side of the rib cage protrudes more than the other, the child seems slouched even after trying to keep themselves upright. Usually, exercise will suffice sometimes. A brace may also be required. If you notice any of this, consult a pediatric orthopedic.

Dr. Mohan Puttaswamy, Senior consultant - Reconstructive orthopedic surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road key points parents should keep in mind are:

1. Encourage your kids to engage in physical activity at least five times per week

This varies based on your child's age, ranging from preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) being active all day to school-aged children and teenagers being active for 60 minutes or more (ages 6 through 17 years).

2. Provide a calcium-rich diet to your children

Dairy products contain moderate levels of calcium. Ragi is an excellent source of calcium for people who live in the south. The calcium content of ragi is 350-375 mg per 100 grams. Incorporating ragi into one's diet is essential. If ragi isn't accessible, north Indians can use Rajma or Sesame instead. In rajma, calcium is found in amounts of 275-300 mg and 800 mg in sesame. As a result, it's a highly concentrated and quickly available type of calcium.

3. Avoid colas, sodas, and aerated drinks in your child's diet.

There is enough evidence to suggest that excessive soda and fizzy beverage consumption in children is connected to lower bone mass. Cola drinkers are less likely to get enough calcium and vitamin D in their diets because they substitute soda for more healthy liquids like milk or calcium-fortified juice.

4. Keep an eye on your child's posture while they're watching TV or taking online lessons.

When sitting for children, the '90-90-90' rule should be followed. When your child sits, his elbows, hips, and knees should all be at a 90-degree angle. This means that the height of your child's workstation should be the same as their elbow. The chair may need to be adjusted in size to accommodate young children in the proper seated position. Foot support or a stool should be supplied if your child's feet dangle in mid-air rather than resting firmly on the floor.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.