By: Julie Wilson, PT
A is for Activity – Everyday activities such as sitting, standing, walking, crawling, wheelbarrow races, and pushups provides bones with safe amounts of force to improve overall quality and strength. Kids with special needs often require using special equipment such as standers, walkers or leg braces to achieve needed weight bearing. Be sure your child obtains weight bearing activities every day, adapted if needed.
B is for Beverages – Reduce drinking carbonated beverages. The phosphorus in these will leach calcium from the bones making them more susceptible to breaking. Children less than 8 should have no more than 1 can of soda pop per week. Replace soda pop with milk.
C is for Calcium – Foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli and sardines are all healthy sources of calcium which is essential for strong bones. Children may need more during growth spurts. Recommended amounts of calcium are: from 0-6 months 210 mg; 7-12 months 270 mg; 1-3 years 500 mg; 4-8 years 800 mg 9-18 years 1300 mg. Consult your child’s physician for specific amounts for your child’s needs.
D is for Vitamin D – Exposure to sunlight makes Vitamin D naturally in our skin. During the summer, make sure your child gets 30-40 minutes of sun without sunscreen 2-3 times a week, avoiding 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm to decrease chances of sunburn. At other times sunscreen is HIGHLY recommended. Decreased sunshine in the winter may require supplemental Vitamin D which your child’s physician can recommend. Foods containing Vitamin D are fish such as cod, herring, salmon) and milk. Many foods have Vitamin D added. The general recommendations for children Vitamin D levels is 40-5- ng/mL. Confirm this with your child’s physician for the specific levels for your child.
Source: Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery Associates www.pedorthokc.com