Excessive Phone Use Is Putting Kids At Risk Of Hip Fractures In Later Life, Expert Warns

Children who spend too much time using phones and other devices are reportedly at serious risk of hip fractures in their 40s and 50s, a professor of ageing and health has warned.

According to Dawn Skelton from Glasgow Caledonian University, kids today have bones that may weaken and fracture earlier than usual -- meaning their parents could end up as their carers.

That's because children are far more sedentary than previous generations as they are less active, are given too many lifts and stare at mobile devices for hours on end Prof Skelton told the Daily Mail.

"Young people need to move and jump about for their bones to grow properly ... After the age of 15, it's not as easy to lay down bone, and growth slows significantly," Prof Skelton, who is also an adviser to the Royal Osteoporosis Society, said.

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weak bones, an expert is warning. Image: Getty.

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She has urged parents to enforce hourly screen breaks and to encourage children to be more active through walking and sport.

If this doesn't happen and kids aren't able to lay down a good baseline of bone, ageing will start happening much earlier and the slightest fall could lead to a fracture, she explained.

It's a hidden problem that will become an epidemic as this generation of children grow into middle age.

Osteopath Dr Chris Reeves from Parkdale Osteopathic Clinic told 10 daily that while Prof Skelton's comments were "quite strong" there could be an element of truth to what she's saying.

"Our bone is a living tissue, made up of billions of cells, and from the time we're born up to approximately 25 years of age, these cells are constantly growing, repairing, rebuilding and even being replaced," he explained.

In their 'developing years', kids should be building more bone than they are losing according to Dr Reeves.

While osteoporosis is quite rare in kids, Dr Reeves told 10 daily that it can occur and is typically called 'juvenile osteoporosis.'

It can be caused by pathological factors -- that's medical speak for being caused by a disease -- where there may be an underlying medical condition or the child's body is simply unable to absorb calcium.

Sometimes it can be caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and lack of exercise -- as outlined by Prof Skelton.

According to Dr Reeves, there are three simple things that parents can do to ensure that their kid's bones grow healthy and strong:

Physical activity is key to building healthy bones in children. Image: Getty.
1. Get active

"Encourage kids to participate in a regular, sensible exercise regime. Consult with an allied health professional like an exercise physiologist or osteopath for more tailored advice," he explained.

2. Get some sunlight

"A little bit of sun exposure to the hands/face/arms at either end of the day boosts Vitamin D levels which in turn helps our bodies to absorb calcium," he said.

3. Get more calcium

"Have kids eat anything dairy -- milk, cheese or yoghurt -- but if that's not their thing consider green leafy veggies, nuts or legumes," he said.

And a word to adults -- don't assume that just because you've left your formative years behind that you're home free in terms of bone issues.

Dr Reeves encourages grown-ups, especially parents, to "set the right example" to ensure their bone density remains strong.

Feature image: Getty.