Teenagers’ bone health

Additional bone health topics for other ages can be found here:

During the teen years (ages 13-19)

While it is not as easy to build bone during the teen years as during early adolescence, this stage still offers substantial opportunity. Nearly a quarter of all bone is formed during the years of the adolescent growth spurt, and half of the bone mass you will build during your life is laid down from puberty through the teen years. This is the time for exercise and good nutrition.

A wholesome diet, strenuous and regular exercise, and the avoidance of toxins are all especially important. Unfortunately, at this time more than ever, young people’s diets tend to deteriorate; exercise, especially among girls, drops; and dieting increases, along with anorexia, menstrual irregularities, and tobacco and recreational drug use.

While teens would benefit from supernutrition, minimal nutrition is more the standard. Teenage girls consume on average only 68% of the RDA for calcium, making it unlikely that many will reach their full genetic potential for bone mass development. While teenage boys consume more calcium, many still underconsume a variety of essential bone-building nutrients. For example, 30% of all adolescents consume less than two-thirds the RDA for magnesium. Teenage girls consume inadequate amounts of manganese, and average male intake is rather marginal.

To reverse this trend, teens can be encouraged to:

  • Consume at least the RDA of all essential nutrients. Use supplements as necessary to achieve this goal.
  • Strive to consume two cups of vegetables for lunch and dinner, and four servings of fruit a day.
  • Avoid smoking, recreational drugs, and excessive dieting.
  • Seek and address the underlying causes of conditions requiring steroid medications or chronic antibiotic use.
  • Participate daily in outdoor physical activity.

Please click here for information on bone health at any age.


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