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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Should I begin giving my children calcium supplements if my mother has osteoporosis?

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  • Anonymous

    No, it is not necessary at this stage. Osteoporosis can be hereditary but it is important that you childrens calcium requirements are met through their diet rather than using supplements at this stage.
    The calcium requirements are as follows:

    Children             age 1-3      500 mg
    Children             age 4-8      700 mg
    Boys and girls    age 9-13    1000-1300 mg
    Boys and girls    age 9-13    1300 mg

    Calcium content of some common foods:

    Milk (1 cup)      375-438 mg of calcium
    Yogurt (200g)   320-430 mg of calcium
    Cheese (30g)   approx 300 mg of calcium

    Dairy foods have the highest levels of calcium, but there are many other sources of calcium including sardines, tinned salmon with bones, spinach and almonds

    Weight-bearing exercise encourages bone density.

    General recommendations include:

    • Choose weight-bearing activities such as brisk walking, jogging, tennis, netball or dance. While non-weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming and cycling, are excellent for other health benefits, they do not promote bone growth.
    • Include some high-impact exercise into your routine, such as jumping and rope skipping. Consult your health professional – high-impact exercise may not be suitable if you have joint problems, another medical condition or are unfit.
    • Strength training (or resistance training) is also an important exercise for bone health. It involves resistance being applied to a muscle to develop and maintain muscular strength, muscular endurance and muscle mass. Importantly for osteoporosis prevention and management, strength training can maintain, or even improve, bone mineral density. Be guided by a health or fitness professional who can recommend specific exercises and techniques.
    • Activities that promote muscle strength, balance and coordination – such as tai chi, pilates and gentle yoga – are also important as they can help to prevent falls by improving our balance, muscle strength and posture.
    • A mixture of weight-bearing and strength-training sessions throughout the week is ideal, aiming for 30 to 40 minutes, four to six times a week. Exercise for bone growth needs to be regular and have variety.

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