In Honor of Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention month we'd like to talk about bone loss in children with Dr. Catherine Gordon. Dr. Gordon specializes in bone loss disorders of children and adolescents, and one of these disorders is idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis. Join me in welcoming Catherine Gordon MD, MSc, Associate Professor, pediatric endocrinologist and Director of the Bone Health Program from Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
Catherine M. Gordon, MD, MSc: Dr. Gordon directs the Bone Health Program at Children's Hospital Boston and is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medicine School. Her primary research interest is the effect of nutrition and malnutrition on bone in children and adolescents. She has published widely in the areas of skeletal losses in young women with anorexia nervosa, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and vitamin D deficiency. Dr. Gordon has served as President of the Pediatric Bone and Mineral Working Group for the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, directs the Pediatric Bone Density Course for the International Society for Clinical Densitometry and was elected to their Board of Directors, and was elected to the Society for Pediatric Research Council. Dr. Gordon has received independent funding through the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD and Dept. of Defense to carry out research aimed to counter bone loss in adolescents with anorexia nervosa.
- I understand that you are involved in the Best Bones Forever campaign, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services as one of their panel experts. What does this group do to promote bone health and what age group are they targeting?
Best Bones Forever!TM is a national bone health campaign designed to help girls, age 9-14, and their parents understand the importance of paying attention to diet, exercise, and other health habits to promote bone health. The teenage and adolescent years represent a critical period for the development of peak bone mass. Therefore, health habits initiated during childhood and adolescence can lead to a high bone density during adulthood, and potentially, the prevention of osteoporosis. The Campaign has designed informational materials including a website and other on-line references to provide health tips for girls and their parents about calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients that are of importance for bone, as well as exercise. Examples of informational items include bone healthy grocery lists, list of foods containing bone healthy nutrients (e.g., rich in calcium and vitamin D), downloadable recipes, and activity lists. A highlight of the campaign is the encouragement of parents working with their daughters, to try to instill better health habits for both.
- Doctor could you explain why it is so important for young girls and boys to start a program of calcium, vitamin D and weight bearing exercise early in life?
By age 18, the majority of an adolescent's peak bone mass has been achieved for life. The late childhood and adolescent years are therefore critical ones for bone development and accrual. There are modifiable factors in an adolescent's lifestyle, such as dietary intake and exercise that if optimized, can have a positive impact on the development of peak bone mass.