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Kids: Building Healthy Bones

Parents recognize the need to encourage healthy eating habits in their children, and they have heard that calcium is important for building healthy bones. But did you know that keeping salt and animal protein intake low and fruit and vegetable intake high is every bit as important? Did you know that scientists are doubtful that drinking more milk has any significant benefit for growing bones?

Most children have no problem developing normal healthy bones. In fact, children in Japan, China, and other countries consume much lower levels of calcium than their North American peers and still develop strong, healthy bones. That's because the human body is an efficient regulator of bone growth.

Children generally build bone at a slightly higher pace than they break it down. After adolescence, this cycle begins to shift a little so that bone building and breakdown generally keep pace with each other. Later in life, this bone–remodeling cycle tends to head in the reverse direction—with more bone being broken down than is rebuilt. Of course, the extent of this weakening can range from barely noticeable to a serious condition called osteoporosis, depending on many lifestyle and dietary habits

Kids: Bone-Building Tips >>