Low Bone Density

Kids running in a park.

Low bone density is a condition also referred to as osteopenia or pre-osteoporosis.   Bone density is a measurement of the strength and thickness of the bones.

Low bone density signifies that a child’s bone mineral density is below normal.  If not treated, the condition can develop to a more serious condition called osteopenia and the child will be more susceptible to broken bones, chronic pain, and stunted growth.


As people age, their bones naturally become thinner.  In children however, the causes may be associated with their family genetic makeup or lifestyle.  If a child’s lifestyle is void of physical activity or eating a diet low in calcium or vitamin D, they are susceptible to low bone density.

Eating disorders, problems with metabolism, or secondary conditions related to and caused by diseases like type 1 diabetes, hyperparathyroidism or kidney disease may also be a cause of low bone density.


To test for low bone density, a painless noninvasive bone density scan is performed to determine the child’s bone density.  The result of the scan will determine the extent of the condition and provide a clear direction for treatment options.


Treatments for low bone density include lifestyle changes to include exercise and a calcium rich diet.  The best sources of calcium are milk, dairy products, and green vegetables.  Good sources of vitamin D include eggs and fish especially salmon and sardines.

Calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, and in some cases, medication may be prescribed to treat low bone density.

Occasionally, further testing is warranted and a genetics referral is made.

Pediatric Endocrinology Specialist

If you are concerned that your child may have low bone density, call Dr. Joshua Smith for an appointment, or fill out the form below.

Dr. Smith is the region’s only specialist in pediatric endocrinology and is specifically trained to properly diagnose and treat low bone density.

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