Fortify Your Child’s Future: Invest Today, Build Bones That Stay!
As parents, we strive to give our children the best possible start in life. We provide them with love, education, and opportunities to grow. However, there's one crucial aspect of their development that we sometimes overlook: the health and strength of their bones. Just as a strong foundation is essential for a sturdy building, strong bones are the key to a healthy and active life.
The golden time to invest in your child's bone health is during their growth spurt, a period when their bodies are rapidly changing and bone development is at its peak. During the growth spurt, your child undergoes a significant surge in height and weight as a result of changes occurring in the growth plates located within the long bones of their arms and legs. These growth plates facilitate the formation of new bone, causing the long bones to lengthen and resulting in an increase in your child's height. Between the ages of 1 to 10, children typically experience an annual growth of 7.6 cm1. During adolescence, which lasts from roughly age 11 to age 21, teenagers will reach the final 15–20% of their adult height. As one is through puberty, the growth plates will stop making new bones, and the person will stop growing and they are not able to increase their height. Later on, as they age, they gradually lose height (approximately 1cm every 10 years)2 due to wear and tear on bones, muscles and joints. Height loss is even more rapid after age 70. A total of 2.5 to 7.5 cm in height could be lost as they age.
Image: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
You can help your child to prevent height loss by following a healthy diet, staying physically active, and preventing and treating bone loss. The growth spurt presents a unique opportunity to maximize bone development, as bones are more responsive to nutritional inputs during this phase. By providing the necessary nutrients, you can help your child achieve optimal bone mass and density, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life.
Calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium3 are the nutrient trio that is essential in bone health. Calcium is needed for building and maintaining strong bones, and it relies on vitamin D to help absorb and utilize it effectively. Magnesium, often overlooked but equally important, supports bone health by assisting in the activation of vitamin D and contributing to the structural integrity of bones. These three nutrients work together synergistically to promote proper bone formation, density, and strength. While vitamin D can be synthesized by the body through exposure to sunlight, calcium and magnesium must be obtained through the diet.
Milk is an excellent source of calcium, followed by leafy green vegetables (such as kale and broccoli), and fortified foods. Yet, Malaysian children are not a big fan of taking milk as their favourite beverage4, which hinders their calcium intake, more so if the children suffer from lactose intolerance. Ergo, supplements could serve as an alternative to ensure these children meet their required daily calcium intake. Nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes are excellent sources of magnesium that can be incorporated into your child's diet. While sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, it's important to balance sun exposure with adequate protection against harmful UV rays. In some cases, supplementation may be necessary, especially in individuals with limited sun exposure or specific health conditions.
On top of that, encourage your child to participate in weight-bearing activities such as running, dancing, or playing sports, as these activities stimulate bone growth and strengthen existing bone tissue. Engaging in regular physical activity during the growth spurt not only enhances bone health but also promotes overall fitness and well-being.
It's important to remember that investing in your child's bone health is a long-term commitment, and while keeping track of their diet can be demanding, supplements could be a convenient option instead. Appeton Multivitamin Optigrow Plus is a supplement specially formulated to support optimal bone growth in children who experience stunted growth, engage in sports activities, or have lactose intolerance. Each tablet contains 100 mg of calcium and can help meet the recommended calcium intake when taken as per recommended. With multivitamins, calcium, vitamin D and magnesium, all in one tablet, you are giving your children the best chance to build bones that stay strong, healthy, and ready for whatever life brings their way!
Learn more: APPETON MULTIVITAMIN OPTIGROW PLUS TABLET
- Graber, E. G. (2023, June 21). Physical growth of infants and children - pediatrics. MSD Manual Professional Edition. Retrieved from: https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/growth-and-development/physical-growth-of-infants-and-children#v7821024
- Frank D. Brodkey. (2022). Aging changes in body shape. Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Calcium/vitamin D requirements, Recommended Foods & Supplements. Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation. (2023, May 24).
- Babolian Hendijani, R. (2009). Factors Affecting Milk Consumption Among School Children in Urban And Rural Areas Of Selangor, Malaysia. International Food Research Journal 17(3):651-660