Calcium is an essential part of every diet for its role in building strong, healthy bones. But it’s especially important for growing kids. In fact, the point at which a human needs the greatest amount of calcium is between the ages of 9 and 18.
But how much calcium should your child be getting, and how do you ensure he gets it?
Here are the facts on calcium and kids:
How much calcium does a child need? Children between 4 and 8 years old need 800 mg of calcium per day, or the equivalent of about three glasses of milk. Between the ages of 9 and 18, children need 1300 mg of calcium per day, or about 4 glasses of milk. That’s more than adults ages 50 and up who only need 1200 mg of calcium a day.
What’s the most effective way of absorbing calcium? Cow’s milk is your best bet because it is one of the highest concentrated natural sources of calcium. For kids age 2 and up, skim milk is best because it contains the same amount of nutrients as whole milk without the fat content.
My child is lactose intolerant/does not consume animal products. How can I ensure he is getting enough calcium? Luckily, lactose-free milk contains the same amount of calcium as regular milk. As for non-dairy milks like soy, almond, and rice milk, most manufacturers of these products fortify them with the nutrients found in cow’s milk, including calcium. But make sure to check the label to be sure.
To find out whether your child is getting all the calcium and other nutrients he needs, find a trusted pediatrician near you with the Vitals Doctor Finder.
Sources: nichd.nih.gov and msnbc.msn.com