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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can I prevent my child from getting osteoporosis?

    I am a parent to 2 toddlers. Are there steps I should be taking now to ensure their risk for osteoporosis is lowered in the future or are they too young to worry about this now?
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    Ali treats people from all walks of life and a variety of complaints. His interests lie in treating and rehabilitating sports injuries, treating headaches and … View Profile

    At such an age, these early years up until to late teens / early adulthood is crucial in determining the risk of osteoporosis in later life. Therefore, building healthy bones by adopting healthy nutritional and lifestyle habits in childhood is important to help prevent osteoporosis and fractures later in life.

    Diet: Adequate dietry intake is important and the recommended daily intake is dependant on a childs age. Besides adequate calcuim intake magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D is also important for bone health. Rich calcium foods are found mainly in dairy products and greens.

    Physical Activity: especially weight-bearing exercises, can help increase the density of bone thus optimising peak bone mass and reducing the risk of osteoporosis in later life.

    For further dietary information it's worth speaking to a registerd dietitian or nutritionist. 

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    Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    In my opinion, I wouldn't worry too much about this right now. Just make sure they are getting enough calcium from high quality sources such as milk, cheese and yoghurt which provide around 300mg of calcium per serve.

    Children aged 1-3 years old need around 500mg calcium per day, and those aged 4-8 years need around 700mg per day according to the nutrient reference values created by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

    In regards to physical exercise, at this age it's best to get them involved in sport rather than specific weight bearing exercises as they are only young. Some sports that might interest your toddlers may be AFL auskick, school sport such as footy, soccer, netball, baseball etc. Choose something that your kids enjoy playing and stick with it.

    For more expert dietary advice consult an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). APDs are highly trained health professionals able to provide you with the latest and most reliable dietary and nutritional advice in the most practical ways possible. Log onto www.daa.asn.au to find an APD near you.

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