Are Your Children Getting Enough Calcium? Are You?
Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 25, 2009
Are your kids getting enough calcium? Are you?
A recent study shows that calcium may play an even greater role in a woman’s health than we once thought. Apparently, a higher intake of dietary calcium may decrease the risk of a woman developing colorectal cancer. But this isn’t about taking calcium supplements, it’s recommended that we increase our intake of calcium by choosing to eat more calcium rich foods. Yes, it’s another reason to eat healthy. How many more reasons do you need?
From Women’s Health…
High dietary intake of calcium may reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer, especially for women, but has no apparent effect in reducing other malignancies, a U.S. National Cancer Institute study finds.
Why calcium should influence cancer risk differently in women versus men isn’t clear, said Yikyung Park, a staff scientist at NCI who led the study. “One can speculate that hormonal or metabolic factors contribute to this difference,” she said.
Women with higher intake of calcium appear to have a lower risk of cancer overall, and both men and women with high calcium intakes have lower risks of colorectal cancer and other cancers of the digestive system, according to a report in the February 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
So, what does all this mean. The bottom line comes down to this: If you have to grab a quick meal, grab something that includes calcium, such as low-fat dairy products—yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese—or calcium-fortified beverages, such as orange juice or soy milk. Dark green leafy vegetables—kale, watercress, and bok choy—are also calcium-rich. Eating calcium foods will do your body more good than supplements. However, if you’re falling short on calcium or if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, you should still take calcium supplements, particularly if your health care practitioner told you to take them.
But how do we know if we are getting enough calcium? Do you know if you are getting enough caclium in your diet?
Try this easy to use calcium calculator to find out how much calcium you should be getting, and how much your current diet is providing. I was shocked to find how little calcium I am actually consuming each day, I will certainly need to pay more attention to this in the future.
Once you know how much more calcium you should be getting each day, use this list of calcium rich foods
to find ways to add more to your diet.
And don’t forget about your kids.
From Kids Health for parents…
During childhood and adolescence, the body uses the mineral calcium to build strong bones — a process that’s all but complete by the end of the teen years. Bone calcium begins to decrease in young adulthood and progressive loss of bone occurs as we age, particularly in women.
It is also important to understand how much calcium kids actually need. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences recommends:
* 500 mg a day for kids who are 1 to 3 years old
* 800 mg a day for kids who are 4 to 8 years old
* 1,300 mg a day for kids who are 9 to 18 years old
My daughter (14 years old) was recently diagnosed with a slight herniated disk in her lower back. It’s most likely the beginning stage of degenerative disc disease (which runs in our family). The doctor wants her to begin doing regular cardio exercise (at least 45 minutes 3 times a week), and also make sure she is getting enough calcium in her diet. Hopefully making these changes will decrease her pain and reduce her risk of future problems.
Young bodies need adequate calcium to build strong bones, especially during growth spurts. In fact, 90 percent of a person’s peak bone mass for adulthood is established by the late teen years: The strength and health of an adult’s bones largely depends on calcium intake during formative years. Some experts call osteoporosis a juvenile disease because poor bone mass in adulthood often begins in adolescence.
Other factors also help build bones, such as engaging in weight-bearing physical activity, for example:
- jumping rope
- team sports
- weight lifting
But calcium intake remains critical. An added bonus to consuming calcium: Some studies link diets rich in dairy products with more lean body mass and better weight management.
From A Mom’s Memories…
This was a challenging subject to blog about – especially since one of my kiddos is the pickiest eater ever. Here are my 5 tips for making sure my kids get the vitamins and minerals they need for strong bones.
From Food Blogga…
When I was kid there was nothing better than coming home from school, opening the refrigerator, and seeing those old-fashioned ice cream dessert glasses filled with Mom’s chocolate pudding, bananas, and Graham Crackers. Cool, creamy, and soothing, just what any kid could use after a long day at school. Plus it’s low in fat and high in bone-building calcium, vitamin D and protein.