Strong Bones in a Strong Age

By Molly

These days many children and teens are not getting enough calcium. This is causing people to have more brittle bones at an earlier age. Usually only older women get osteoporosis, a disease where older people grow shorter and bones become weak and brittle. When bones become brittle they break much more easily. When you get osteoporosis your bones could break doing simple things like going down the stairs.  Now, due to not enough intake of calcium, younger people are at more of a risk to develop this disease.

The bone is made of a hard material with tunnels weaving through it. These hollow tunnels let the bone be strong and light. They also help the passage of waste and nutrients. Collagen is a protein that gives the bone elasticity. Calcium salts are a chemical that make the bone hard.

Junk food does not have many nutrients. The next time you have something to eat look at the ingredients. If there are a lot of colorings and flavorings and things you don’t recognize, then there probably is not much nutritional value.

The Institute of Medicine says that children between the ages of 9 and 18 should get 1,300 milligrams of calcium every day. Fewer than 10 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys get this amount. The average is about 900 milligrams, but most kids only get 600 to 700 milligrams. To get 1,300 milligrams you would have to drink four glasses of milk, eat ten cups of cooked broccoli, or have two glasses of milk, a cup of yogurt, and a glass of orange juice every day.

You also need vitamin D and other vitamins to help absorb the calcium. During the summer you get this from the sun. When it comes to a darker time of year you need to take a vitamin supplement. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that teenagers take a daily multivitamin that includes vitamin D.

Getting exercise also helps build strong bones. Even if you are watching TV you could do jumping jacks during commercials. Exercising for just a few moments is helpful. Keeping healthy bones is tough, but every little bit helps. By doing the little things you will make your bones thank you in your later life.

www.sciencenewsforkids.org

www.niams.nih.gov

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Filed under Exciting Science Spring 2010

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