AAP Emphasizes Nutrition, Exercise for Optimal Bone Health in Children

(HealthDay News) — Pediatricians play an important role in fostering optimal bone health in children and adolescents, according to research published in Pediatrics.

Neville H. Golden, MD, Steven A. Abrams, MD, and colleagues on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Nutrition, compiled a clinical report reviewing normal bone acquisition in infants, children and adolescents and outlining office-based strategies for pediatricians to optimize bone health.

Previous recommended daily allowances for calcium and vitamin D in children have been updated, the researchers found. The AAP supports the higher recommended dietary allowances for vitamin D advised by the Institute of Medicine. 

Pediatricians should ask about a child’s diet and encourage increased dietary intake of foods and beverages containing calcium and vitamin D. Routine calcium supplementation is not recommended for healthy children. 

Routine screening of healthy children for vitamin D deficiency is not recommended, but testing is appropriate for children with conditions associated with increased bone fragility. 

Pediatricians also should ask about the type and amount of exercise a child is getting and encourage weight-bearing activities such as dancing, jumping, running, skipping and walking.

“The pediatrician plays a major role in helping optimize bone health in children and adolescents,” the authors wrote. “This clinical report has been endorsed by American Bone Health.”


  1. Golden NH et al. Pediatrics. 2014;doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2173.