Adequate nutrition is required for all children to help build bone mass. However, a proper diet does not directly prevent or treat scoliosis. Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves, compared to a normal straight spine. This most often occurs during puberty, when children experience a big growth spurt. No particular diet will treat this condition, but eating a diet that supports bone mass can help prevent osteoporosis. According to the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, osteoporosis can worsen scoliosis by increasing the severity of the curve of the spine during adulthood.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, cases of scoliosis are generally worse in girls. Scoliosis is also hereditary. Older adults that have osteoporosis do not necessarily have scoliosis. If your pediatrician diagnoses your child with scoliosis, now is the time to ensure you offer a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to help prevent osteoporosis.
Effects of Calcium
Calcium is an essential mineral that helps build bone mass. In the long term, regular calcium consumption during childhood helps prevent osteoporosis during late adulthood. The Texas Children’s Hospital recommends adolescents consume between 1200 and 1500 mg of calcium every day to minimize the risk of bone loss. However, eating calcium-rich foods or not consuming enough calcium in the diet does not impact scoliosis. Remember to offer your child low-fat sources of calcium that do not have high levels of saturated fat. Examples include yogurt, skim cheeses and one percent or skim milk. Broccoli and orange juice also contain calcium.
Vitamin D is another nutrient that helps prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. This is why you may find that certain foods, such as milk, are fortified with vitamin D. MedlinePlus explains that vitamin D is especially important for children that were breastfed as infants. Sources of vitamin D include cereal, saltwater fish and eggs.
Diet and nutrition alone will not help prevent or treat scoliosis. Kids Health says the curved spine effect of scoliosis is so minor, most children and adolescents do not require medical treatment. However, if the curve is so severe it affects joint and organ functions, your child might require surgery. Following a balanced diet helps scoliosis patients feel better. Your doctor will advise you of any supplements your child needs post-surgery. In the meantime, it is vital you offer your child a calcium-rich diet and vitamin D to help aid bone growth and prevent osteoporosis. Food sources of calcium and vitamin D are a better choice than supplements. If your child lacks these nutrients in his or her diet, ask your pediatrician for a supplement recommendation.