Photo from Adobe Stock. Adequate exercise and a healthy diet are essential for strong bones and healthy joints.

October 19, 2017 is World Pediatric Bone & Joint Day, and the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI) is reminding patients of the importance of taking control of their everyday bone and joint health. The percentage of children who are overweight or obese has more than doubled over the past 30 years. Recognizing the effects of childhood obesity is essential to avoid serious childhood and lifelong challenges.

Obesity can affect bones and joints at a young age. Eating a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium coupled with daily physical activity is essential for healthy bones and joints. “The Pediatric Specialty Group of the USBJI are calling on parents to know and recognize the symptoms of bone and joint problems due to obesity,” said Paul Esposito, MD, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. “An early diagnosis can ensure better and earlier treatment, and a greater potential to prevent lifelong bone and joint pain, deformity and disability.”

There are four signs to look out for when recognizing the harmful effects of obesity in children.

  • Back pain.
  • Pain in the groin or inside of the thigh and knee.
  • Bowed legs (where the knees bend outward). Some bowing of the legs is common in children age 2 and younger; however, an ongoing or worsening spread of the knees are not normal.
  • Knock knees, or knees bending inward or even touching, may cause early arthritis and knee, shin and foot pain.

If you notice any of these conditions in a child, especially if they worsen over time, please contact your health care provider as soon as possible. After an examination, which may include X-rays or other imaging, a diagnosis and appropriate treatment protocol will be determined.

For more information, on World Pediatric Bone & Joint Day, visit usbji.org.

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