As you age, it seems the risk of fractures starts and ends high. While parents are bombarded with information regarding the diet of a child as it relates to their growth, it's important that everyone understands the risk of a low calcium, low impact diet - at any age.
The bones of the body do not reach their maximum density until mid-late 20's - or in other words - your bones are not the strongest until you're around 30 years old. While many factors improve the mechanical properties of bone (stiffness, strength, ductility, etc.), it's important that all of them be addressed as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Nourishment is key - as activity is likely already being managed. Between recess, after school activities, and the introduction to sports, the activity levels during childhood should maintain the consistent forces bone requires to maintain stability and strength. So why so many fractures during childhood?
Children have smaller, younger bones. Compact bone is not fully compact, minerals provided in the diet are harder to obtain and maintain (especially with picky eaters), and the mechanical properties of bone are not at full potential. For example: hollow bones with wider cross-sections (like those found in adults), have a higher resistance to torsion forces, or twisting and bending, than do children. So what happens when they fall and land incorrectly? Boom - higher risk of fractures.
During retirement and beyond:
Bone density naturally decreases in almost all individuals with age. The body no longer regenerates cells as quickly, absorbs nutrients as efficiently, and therefore leads to decreased bone being produced and less calcium being absorbed to maintain the materials required to reproduce bone. Other external factors, like decrease in activity due to a slowing lifestyle, as well as a higher risk of other health problems causing a decrease in activity like arthritis will lead to a decrease in activity, and therefore, an increased risk for fractures.
Not to mention as you age, your muscles naturally attempt to protect cells that have high endurance levels, the ability to react quickly (quick reflexes) diminishes. Therefore, if you were to trip, you're less likely to catch yourself, more likely to fall, and as a result, at a higher risk for fractures.
What can you do?
It's never too late to get active, and add calciums and proteins to your diet. It's never too late to find alternate sources for your children, either.
The muscles and skeleton coincide with each other, and the health of one is codependent on the health of the other. Keeping vitamins and minerals in your diet, taking daily supplements, and finding some source of natural proteins is crucial to the health of your skeleton. Activity levels help to maintain progress - and it's crucial that progress be maintained when it comes to bone density.
Talk to your doctor for more information, or give us at CHAMPION a call for preventative measures you can take to protect you and your loved ones.