As I watched a hunched, elderly woman shuffle down the street, I was reminded that osteoporosis is a pediatric problem. It is during childhood that calcium intake determines not only whether children will grow as tall as their full potential, but also how long their bones will last. As life spans increase, getting enough calcium becomes even more important.
Children age 1-3 need 500 mg of calcium per day. Children 4-8 need 800 mg, and children 9-18 need 1300 mg for optimum growth. Sadly, according to the Institute of Medicine, most preteens and adolescents are only getting 700-1000 mg (boys are at the higher end of the range). We’re not giving our children what they need.
(Note: a cup of milk or a cup of calcium-fortified orange juice has 300 mg. A cup of yogurt can have more than 400 mg.)