While attending a family gathering this past summer I noticed that the only beverages available for the children were juice boxes and soda. Kids were drinking these like water. Recently I took a look in my own refrigerator and saw the gallon of milk still sitting on the shelf only half empty. I purchased that milk a week ago. With soft drinks and juice more accessible to kids these days than milk I wondered if my children are getting enough calcium.
According to Keep Kids Healthy.com, Toddlers (1-3) require 300 mg of calcium per day or 2 glasses of milk. By the time they are in preschool (4-8) children should have 800 mg of calcium or 3 glasses of milk per day. Older school aged children (9-18) require about 1300 mg of calcium or 4 glasses of milk per day. By the time your child reaches puberty it is even more important for him to have the proper requirement of calcium. Because the efficiency of calcium absorption is increased during puberty, and the majority of bone formation occurs during this period.
A survey conducted in 2004 showed that only 13 % of boys and girls between the ages of 12-19 met the daily recommendations for calcium. Another voluntary survey was administered that year to 227 10-16 year olds. (120 boys and 107 girls) attending an NYSP summer session in Vernillion, South Dakota to evaluate their daily fluid consumption choices. 55.5% stated that they had consumed at least one can or bottle of soda daily. 33.9% stated that they consume at least one sports drink daily with 24.2% indicating that they don’t drink sports drinks. 48.4% indicated that they drank at least 2 bottles of water daily. 61.2% responded that they drank 2 glasses or less of milk daily. 70.9% admitted drinking one glass of juice daily.
Getting your children to meet the daily calcium requirements for their age can be challenging. More kids are developing or have developed milk allergies or lactose intolerance. Sometimes kids just don’t like the taste of milk. If you are having these problems with your children here are some calcium rich foods that you can add to your child‘s diet.
Milk, whole or low-fat
Soy or rice milk
Orange juice, calcium fortified
Sweet potatoes, mashed
Is your child getting enough calcium?