Fruit and veggies build bone strength during teen years

October 5, 2005 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Fruit and veggies build bone strength during teen years

According to a growing number of studies, fruit and vegetables, and not just calcium, help build bone strength during childhood and teenage years.

The latest trial carried out in Canada at the University of Saskatchewan has found that fruit and vegetables, independent of calcium intake, was associated with higher bone mineral density in teenage boys. These findings support a study reported last year by researchers in Northern Ireland showing that 12-year-old girls with high fruit consumption had significantly higher heel bone mineral density than moderate fruit consumers.

Bone mineral density during early adolescence is key to prevention of osteoporosis in later life. However, many teenagers do not eat enough calcium nor do they consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

Researchers followed 85 boys and 67 girls aged 8 to 20 years over a seven-year period. Study participants were surveyed on their diet and their height and weight were measured every six months, while their total bone mineral content was tested every year with a technique known as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutritional.

The boys who ate the most fruit and vegetables, showed the greatest accumulation of mineral in their bones throughout childhood and adolescence.

The findings from this latest study, appearing in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that less than 30 per cent of the 150 boys and girls they assessed were eating the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.

While it is not clear how fruit and vegetables contribute to a stronger bone mass, researchers suggest the fruit's alkaline-forming properties mediate the body's acid-base balance.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.