New research reveals that children are falling short of the mark when it comes to bone health.

According to the report, which was released to mark Healthy Bones Action Week (20 – 26 August), 92 per cent of parents believe that their children are getting enough calcium, vitamin D and exercise – actions renowned as the building blocks for healthy bones.

But In Reality….

However, whilst nine out of 10 parents acknowledge that dairy is an important source of calcium, the report suggests that in reality only one-third of children consume the recommended daily serves of dairy foods.

“It’s alarming that so many Australian children aren’t getting the calcium and recommended physical
activity they need to develop their bones. Building strong bones starts when you’re young, but sets you up
for life,” said Dr Rachel Duckham, childhood bone growth expert from the Institute for Physical Activity
and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Melbourne.

The Role Of Schools In Bone Health

The report suggested that schools are set to play a major role in building the nation’s bone health. The
vast majority of parents (88 per cent) agree children should be educated about bone health at school.

Furthermore, four in five parents were positive about the role schools can play in nutritional education,
and the same number have taken to home-schooling to educate children about the benefits of dairy for
building strong bones.

“The good news is that parents and schools are increasingly recognising the importance of education for
bone health, however, it is now Australia’s responsibility to ensure that bone health education is
embedded into a child’s learning,” Dr Duckham said.

“Parents are overwhelmingly in favour of schools playing their role in bone health education.

Dairy Australia dietitian, Emma Glassenbury, says the importance of nutrition education for bone health is
fundamental for children.

“Understanding what their bones need is the first important step for all school children. By educating
children early, we can set them up for the long run.

Three Factors For Healthy Bones

“The three most important things for kids to remember are:

  • weight bearing exercise,
  • vitamin D from safe sun exposure,
  • and calcium-rich foods
    are key to support strong, healthy bones,” Ms Glassenbury said.

Dairy foods are one of the richest sources of calcium in the diet. They also contain other essential
nutrients, such as phosphorus, magnesium and zinc to support healthy bone development and

Parents, schools and communities can find out more about maintaining and developing healthy bones by
visiting healthybones.com.au.

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  • Even if you eat/drink plenty of food/liquid containing calcium if you don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun or take a supplement your body cannot absorb the calcium


  • These findings are worrying. Exercise is so important for children.

    • Sure is and the younger they start exercise the better – it just becomes a part of everyday life.


  • We get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D and love our dairy and outside time. Bone health is super important.


  • 3 very important aspects indeed. Think indeed that the education on nutrition needs improvement and schools could help to reinforce this to our kids.


  • Great article. It’s a bit disturbing that a lot if not most kids aren’t getting the recommended amounts of dairy and excercize. What kind of effects will this have on the population further down the track!?


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