GROWTH SUMMIT: ADVANCING NUTRITION SCIENCE FOR OPTIMAL CHILDHOOD GROWTH
Kate Ward, PhD
Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit
University of Southampton
MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory
Dr Ward reviews the evidence supporting the importance of the developing years to a healthy musculoskeletal system around puberty and later in life. The biomechanical and paracrine interplay between muscle and bone is essential for optimal growth. Peak lean body mass accrual during puberty precedes and may drive optimal bone growth and maturation, so adequate nutrition should be considered equally for muscle as bone. Dr Ward also presents several fascinating calcium and vitamin D supplementation studies in both pre-pubertal children and during pregnancy, ultimately suggesting that we must go beyond a “one size fits all” approach to nutrition and musculoskeletal growth.