AAP Stresses the Importance of Bone Health in Childhood

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: What you do for your child's bone health now can affect their risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Air Date: 10/1/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Neville Golden, MD
NevilleGoldenStanford2013 resizedDr. Neville Golden is Chief of Adolescent Medicine and the Marron and Mary Elizabeth Kendrick Professor in Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics National Committee on Nutrition and is one of the lead authors of the American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report entitled "Optimizing Bone Health in Children and Adolescents." His research focuses on the medical complications of eating disorders including low bone mass. He has studied the use of high-impact low frequency jumping activities, estrogen replacement therapy and bisphosphonates for the treatment of low bone mass in adolescents with anorexia nervosa
AAP Stresses the Importance of Bone Health in Childhood
Osteoporosis, a disease of increased bone fragility, is often thought of as a disorder that primarily affects the elderly. In reality, the origins of this condition are established in early childhood and adolescence.

In a new clinical report, "Optimizing Bone Health in Children and Adolescents," in the October 2014 Pediatrics (published online Sept. 29), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discusses strategies pediatricians can use in health care visits to optimize children's bone health.

According to the AAP, the primary source of nutrition for healthy infants should continue to be human milk, or infant formula if human milk is not available. After the first year of life, the main source of dietary calcium should be milk and other dairy products, which combined account for 70 to 80 percent of dietary calcium intake.

The AAP recommends that pediatricians encourage children and adolescents to increase their daily intake of calcium and vitamin D-containing foods and beverages. This can include nonfat milk and low-fat yogurts, both good sources of calcium.

The AAP supports the higher recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D, advised by the Institute of Medicine, but does not suggest universal screening for vitamin D deficiency in healthy children. Screening for vitamin D deficiency should be targeted at children and adolescents with recurrent low-impact fractures or those with medical conditions associated with reduced bone mineral density.

Pediatricians should also ask about the type and amount of exercise children are receiving and encourage weight-bearing activities such as walking, dancing and running to help optimize bone health throughout childhood and adolescence.

Listen as Dr. Neville Golden discusses the importance of bone health in children and how parents can encourage exercise and good nutrition habits to optimize future bone health of their children.

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