Osteoporosis is a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences. In terms of bone health, the stage is set early on: girls build close to 90% of their bone mass by age 18. Once they reach adulthood, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to make it up. Unfortunately, most adolescent girls do not get the calcium, vitamin D, and physical activity they need to grow strong, healthy bones.
That’s why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) launched Best Bones Forever!, a national bone health campaign for girls ages 9-14. Best Bones Forever! focuses on friendship and fun–and encourages girls to “grow strong together, stay strong forever.”
The new campaign empowers girls and their BFFs (best friend forever) to build strong bones by choosing snacks and foods with calcium and vitamin D, and getting an hour of physical activity a day.
Campaign materials such as journals, posters, magnets, tattoos, book covers and a Web site (www.bestbonesforever.gov) get girls excited about growing healthy bones! Parents can get important bone health information from a brochure in both English and Spanish, and a Web site: www.bestbonesforever.gov/parents.
As a gymnastics coach I see girls with repetitive use injuries, injuries that occur from a small error and other injuries that I feel could often be prevented through better nutrition and conditioning. If you are a parent of an athlete, I highly recommend to take a look at the Best Bones Forever site and its sister site, GirlsHealth.gov to get more information on ways you can help your daughter get the proper nutrition and make the appropriate lifestyle changes to keep her bones healthy!