Facts by Age Groups

Kids 4 to 8 years

What’s Happening – Growth and Development

During middle childhood growth slows but is fairly constant until puberty. At this stage bone growth is more rapid in arms and legs than trunk. Leg growth is responsible for two-thirds of the increase in height and trunk growth for the other third.

Bone in children is structurally different from adult bone. It is weaker but less brittle. Mechanically young bone is able to absorb more energy before breaking. The patterns of fracture are different in children than adults. Broken bones that are common in this age group called “greenstick” fractures are a result of bone bending like green wood and breaking on one side.

Another type of fracture that does not occur in adults involves injury to growth plates that are located at the ends of the long bones in the arms and legs. A fracture involving the growth plate could potentially impact growth, if the bone does not heal properly.

Most broken bones happen with a fall. Be aware of a potential broken bone after a fall, especially their forearm. For example, you might notice your child is running without swinging one arm.

Bone Health Tips for Your Kids

Your child develops strong opinion about what taste good and bad. This is the time to teach your child about good nutritional choices. Since growth is not as rapid, their appetite may decrease and they may not consume as many calories.

Bone healthy measures for your kids include:

1. Calcium

  • Recommended calcium intake increases to 800 milligrams a day.
  • Three 8-ounce glasses of milk will cover the recommended amount.
  • If dairy is not the source of calcium, provide protein from other foods

2. Vitamin D

  • Recommendations continue at 600 IU per day with no more than 3000 IU per day.
  • Diet may not supply sufficient vitamin D in the fall, winter, and spring; a supplement to diet may be needed.

3. Diet

  • Teach about and provide good nutrition that is a balanced diet of protein, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Limit soft drinks, juices, and fruit drinks.
  • Avoid stopping at fast foods for a quick meal.

4. Exercise

  • Encourage physical activity every day.
  • Play outdoors especially during the summer months when sunshine will provide vitamin D.