Life Lessons: Building strong kids' bones

Posted: 5:00 AM EDT Oct 24, 2013

We all know milk does the body good, but what else can strengthen your child's bones?

Kids reach their peak bone mass by age 12 and evidence shows that increasing peak bone mass in childhood by just 10 percent could delay osteoporosis by 13 years.

So to strengthen your child's bones, keep them exercising. But not all exercises are created equal.

One study at the University of New Mexico found that swimmers had lower bone density than those who didn't exercise at all. This is because their bones don't support any weight during the activity.

Bones respond best to a combination of stress, rest, and variety.

The best activities are soccer, basketball, and gymnastics.

In a study of 99 college women who participated in NCAA Division I sports, runners had the lowest bone density values at every site measured except their legs.