During growth, bone strength, defined as the ability to resist fracture, develops through the adaptation of skeletal mass and geometry in response to mechanical loads. Bones have a tremendous potential to respond to mechanical loading by changing shape, and this adaptive ability is much greater during growth than after growth ceases. Throughout childhood and adolescence, the skeleton is adapting to changes in mechanical loads to become strong enough to support body weight and current physical activity. Furthermore, at the completion of growth, the bones must be of sufficient strength to meet the lifetime load-bearing demands of adulthood. Bone mass, size, and strength are regulated by daily mechanical loads, but the relative response to loads is dependent upon other factors: genetics, lifestyle choices, and health, hormonal and nutritional status. This chapter focuses on the role of mechanical loading (physical activity) and calcium nutrition in childhood skeletal development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes