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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 12:58 EDT

Strong Bones, Strong Kids

June 24, 2008

School’s out and summer is the time of year when millions of children attend various camps, many of which are sports-related. From basketball to tennis to football and even hockey, kids need to be physically prepared for their sport of choice or injuries could occur. According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, about 3.5 million children ages 14 and under receive medical treatment after getting injured from playing sports every year. Medical experts say kids need to be armed with the right tools before engaging in any athletic activity. Doing proper exercises, wearing protective gear, and eating nutrition foods are key to preventing injuries. This summer, GOT MILK? along with health professionals throughout California are teaming-up to provide tips for parents on how to keep kids safe from injuries and broken bones.

Many medical experts say one of the main reasons sports-related injuries have increased over the years is because children are not getting enough calcium. The problem is exacerbated by poor nutrition due to the popularity of sodas and caffeinated drinks which could deplete calcium in the body. The National Institutes of Health reports over 90% of girls and 75% of boys ages 9 to 13 have inadequate calcium intake.

“These statistics are alarming and continue to grow,” says Dr. Andres Smith, emergency room physician at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in the San Diego area. “This age group is at the most critical time for bone growth and parents must address the issue of calcium deficiency with their active children or face serious consequences in the emergency room.”

According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, most sports-injuries in kids 14 and under result from falls, being struck by an object or collisions. Doctors say one way to prevent such injuries is by getting enough calcium in the diet, which includes at least three daily servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy like milk.

“Milk continues to be the number one source of calcium for strong bones,” says Dr. Smith. “Plus it contains other nutrients like vitamins D, A, B12, potassium and magnesium.”

Besides a diet rich in calcium, medical experts recommend that children get at least one hour of physical activity every day. A great way to build strong bones is by jumping rope because it stresses the bones causing the bones’ building cells to turn on. So kids can jump rope for 10-15 minutes, followed by playing a sport or running.

The Safe Kids Campaign also suggests the following tips in preventing sports injuries for the summer:

 1) Before participating in a sport or athletic camp, children should    receive physical exams from their pediatrician to determine their    general health. 2) Children should always wear sport-specific properly fitting safety    gear when participating in sports-related activities. 3) Make sure children are enrolled in the proper age-group or skill    level of their particular activity. 4) Make sure kids play in a safe environment like rinks, courts, fields,    etc. that are free from debris or cracks that could cause injury. 5) Provide children with the adequate training or exercises when learning    a new sport. 

For more information and/or tips, please visit www.gotmilk.com.

About Dr. Andres Smith

Dr. Andres Smith is the medical director at the Emergency Medicine Department at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center near San Diego, Calif. He received his medical degree from University of Illinois College of Medicine and performed his internship and residency at Martin Luther King-Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

About the CMPB

The California Milk Processor Board was established in 1993 to make milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California. Awareness of GOT MILK? is over 90% nationally and it is considered one of the most important and successful campaigns in history. GOT MILK? is a federally registered trademark that has been licensed by the national dairy boards since 1995. GOT MILK? gifts and recipes can be viewed at www.gotmilk.com. The CMPB is funded by all California milk processors and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

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SOURCE: California Milk Processor Board