Bone health by life stages

Mar 5, 2021

Pregnancy: Building up the foundation for a lifetime

Growth and development of skeleton take about 30 years. The ultimate goal is to build the strongest bones possible that will last a lifetime. A healthy diet and lifestyle is vital and starts from pregnancy. Mothers-to-be are advised to include a few simple measures to ensure an adequate calcium intake and vitamin D, healthy diet and regular exercise is practiced throughout the pregnancy.

Childhood: Developing Healthy-bone habits for life

The growth and accrual of bone mass take place at different rates from rapid growth during infancy to a slower growth in toddler, and the growth spurts up again during the puberty. During childhood, the bone growth is more rapid in arms and legs than the trunk. And mechanically young bone is able to absorb more impact before it breaks unlike fracture that happens among adults.

Another fracture that commonly happen in children involves injury on the bone’s growth-plate – usually located at the end of the long bones in the arms and legs. Improper healing of this growth-plate from a fracture could potentially impact the child’s growth.

Adolescence: Spurting up 2nd phase of bone growth

Regardless of the start, puberty may continue for up to 6 years. About 40% of bone mass is built during adolescence. These amount of the bone accrued is equal to the amount of the bone loss typically happen throughout the later stage of life. By the age of 18 (girls) and 19 to 20 (boys), about 90% of bone mass for adulthood is accrued. Thus, adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is essential for healthy bone growth.

Adulthood: Optimizing the healthy-bone lifestyle

This is the period of consolidation peak bone mass is achieved by late 20s to early 30s. The peak bone mass is a key determinant of the lifetime risk of osteoporosis. The higher peak bone mass, the better equipped one to withstand against the bone loss, which is unavoidable with aging.

The potential bone mass gain in the 30s should not be ignored. It can be gained about 10% of bone mass during this decade. However, some unhealthy lifestyle, such as excessive caffeinated consumption, alcohol drinking, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle may contribute great impact on their bone mass.

Seniors: Staying active with sufficient bone mass

Life after menopause for women is associated with silent bone loss. Thus, it is important to assess the risk of osteoporosis with a bone density scan. Men are at risk for osteoporosis as well.  They are about 10 years behind women in risk of fracture, but the osteoporosis issue has become a bigger problem in this decade among men.

A loss of muscle mass with aging may lead to reduced muscle strength and followed with an increased risk of falling then caused fractures. Calcium intake recommendation increase for seniors to 1,000mg a day. Seniors are encouraged to do the best they can by minimizing factors that promote bone loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle along with focusing on fall prevention.

References
 

4BoneHealth. 2016. Facts by age groups. [Retrieved from http://www.4bonehealth.org/education-category/age-group/, 24 August 2016].