Childhood is a crucial time for growth and development. According to various studies building healthy bones in childhood is important as the bone mass attained during this period determines lifelong skeletal health.
Weak physical development during childhood leads to diseases such as osteoporosis that causes the bone to become less dense and more prone to fractures in later life.
There are various factors that affect the peak bone mass an individual can attain which includes:
- Gender– Generally men have higher bone mass density than females. Before puberty development of bone mass is similar for boys and girls but after puberty boys tend to gain greater bone mass than girls.
- Race– It is seen that African American females tend to achieve higher bone mass than white girls.
- Hormonal factors– Intercourse hormones like estrogen and testosterone are necessary for the increase in bone mass. Therefore girls who begin to menstruate early have higher bone mass and those who miss their periods frequently have lower bone density.
- Nutritional status– Well balanced diet containing adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D s essential.
- Physical activity- Skeletal areas that bear the most weight like hips during walking and running and arms during weight lifting shows the most obvious benefit of physical activity.
- Physical illnesses– Disorders like malabsorption syndrome, diabetes mellitus, juvenile arthritis, hyperthyroidism, kidney and liver diseases may affect peak bone mass.
- Medications– Medications like anti-epileptic medicines, corticosteroids e.g. for asthma and immunosuppressive agents e.g. for cancer lower peak bone mass.
- Behavioral issues – Certain behavior like prolonged inactivity, frequent dieting, trips to bathroom following meals, excessive exercise, smoking and alcohol abuse leads to low peak bone mass.
In the light of the above knowledge, it is important to develop healthy bone behavior right since early childhood. Parents should be good role models themselves to ensure their kids develop such healthy habits. Proper nutrition and a balanced diet along with plenty of physical activity are the two most essential lifelong bone health habits.
For healthy bones, it’s essential to eat food rich in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is found in many foods. Most common source of calcium is milk and dairy products. Other sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables like ladyfinger, cabbage and broccoli, soya bean and nuts.
Best physical exercises for the bones are weight-bearing activities like walking, running, dancing etc and resistance exercise like weight lifting.
Homeopathy has a significant role to play in dealing with the menace of weak bone development without any side effects. Well-selected constitutional homeopathic medicine can help to treat various primary disorders that affect peak bone mass. Homeopathy has also been found to deal effectively with behavioral issues like anorexia nervosa that can otherwise lower bone mass.
Although it is best when calcium comes from food sources but in cases where the child is not getting adequate calcium from diet calcium supplements can be considered. Chewable calcium tablets for children of 6 years are recommended. Homeopathic calcium supplements like Calcarea Phosphorica has been found to improve peak bone mass in kids and adults. Calcarea Phosphoric in various potencies ensures efficient calcium absorption in the body which helps in achieving healthy skeletal growth and in early healing of fractures.