Health Insurance Online
Phone Icon
Call now to speak with a Licensed agent (866) 954-1892

Insurance Type:

Kids and Health Care: Balance is Important

Time and again, when it comes to diet issues, balance is the key point.

For example: One study suggested that, although calcium usually gets top billing when it comes to bone health, fruits and vegetables may also promote stronger bones in girls. The study of 56 girls ages eight to 13 found that those who ate at least three servings of fruits and vegetables each day had bigger bones than their peers.

The researchers suspected that a produce-rich diet helps limit the body's excretion of calcium from the bones. They recorded the subjects' food intake on three different days over a two-year period.

During the study, the researchers used x-rays to measure the girls' bone size; they also took urine and blood samples. They found that, compared with girls who ate fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables per day, those who ate more had greater bone area overall.

The higher levels of fruits and vegetables didn't add any calcium to the girls' bones; but they did help keep the calcium from leaching out.

Since peak bone mass begins to decline after about age 30, it's important to build strong bones early in life -- especially for young girls. Women have fragile bone problems more often than men. This means girls need an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D during childhood and through teen years.

Children with abnormally low bone mineral density (a condition called osteopenia) may be at greater risk for osteoporosis later in life when bone mass begins to decline. In severe cases, patients may even experience bone fractures during childhood.

Why do some kids have osteopenia? Sometimes, it's a side-effect of other diseases. It can even result from an especially bad bone break. But the most common cause of osteopenia is poor nutrition.

Poor nutrition (especially low intake of calcium and vitamin D) may limit the body's ability to form new bone. And the replacement of milk with cola really hurts here. Cola beverages contain phosphoric acid and caffeine, which may interfere with bone mineralization and increase the risk of bone fractures.

But the news isn't all bad here. Nutritional deficiencies can often be treated with diet and exercise. Children who are anorexic may need extensive counseling to overcome their poor eating patterns. Some children may need calcium supplementation. Several medications have been approved to treat low bone mass in adults, but these medications haven't been fully tested in children.

Google Plus One