Kid's Meals - More Info and Literature  

Regular intake of adequate amounts of Calcium in childhood is the secret of attaining peak bone mass. However, today we find older children and adolescents in the United States not achieving this. In fact, a diminishing Calcium intake is found among children as they grow up. National Survey data confirms that the majority of U.S. children above 8 years of age do not get the recommended Calcium intake. Moreover, the US Department of Agriculture tells us that -

  • 71 percent of girls and 62 percent of boys between 6 to 11 years of age do not meet their Calcium recommendations.
  • Among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, 88 percent of females and 68 percent of males do not attain Calcium recommendations.

(Blame it in part the teenagers' preferences for soft drinks over dairy products!)

The need for Calcium in different age groups is not uniform; it varies from child to child and with the stages of a child's development. Recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics on Adequate Dietary Calcium Intake are shown in this table:

Ages

Recommended Calcium intake ( mg / day )

0 6 months

210

7 12 months

270

1 3 years

500

4 8 years

800

9 18 years

1300

19 50 years

1000

50 - > 70 years

1200

Recent information shows that for infants Calcium intake is more or less sufficient in United States . However, Calcium intake declines as children grow up, because of their decreasing consumption of dairy products (the major source of Calcium).

It was found that:

  • Only 36 percent of girls and 47 percent of boys aged 6 to 11 years consume the recommended number of servings of Milk Group foods.
  • Among adolescents between 12 to19, only 11 percent of females and 28 percent of males are found attaining the recommended number of servings of Milk Group foods.

Milk (250-300 mg of Calcium per 8 fluid ounces) provides about 25 percent of the daily requirement of Calcium. Milk and other dairy products are the greatest sources of dietary Calcium for majority of the U.S. population, providing about 72 percent of the Calcium in the food supply of the country. The children in our country derive 65 percent of their dietary Calcium solely from dairy products.

A look at the table below tells us that dairy products provide most of the Calcium supply.

Percentage of Calcium U.S. children derive from different food sources


Food Groups


Percentage of Calcium

Children

Young Children

Male Teens

Female Teens

2-18 years

2-5 years

6-11 years

12-18 years

12-18 years

Milk

51.5

58.9

53.6

46.1

43.4

Cheese

14.3

10.8

13.2

16.5

18.9

Yeast Bread

6.8

5.7

6.5

7.6

7.7

Ice-Cream/ Sherbet/ Frozen Yoghurt

3.0

2.5

2.9

3.8

2.9

Cakes/Cookies/Quick Breads/Donuts

2.3

1.7

2.2

2.7

2.6

Pancakes/Waffles/ French Toast

2.1

1.8

2.0

2.9

1.6

Ready-to-Eat Cereal

1.3

1.5

1.3

1.5

0.9

Fruit Drinks

1.2

1.5

1.1

1.1

1.3

If your child is sensitive to milk or milk products, i.e. lactose intolerant, your child could acquire enough Calcium from Calcium-fortified products (fruit juices, bakery products, instant oatmeal, etc.). You can insure this Calcium supply using TOTALLY CALCIUM®.

Another study shows the actual Calcium uptake of children as well as adults in different age groups and by gender.

 

1977-1978

1994-1996

All Individuals, 2 years and older

22 mg

25 mg

Children, between 2 to 17 years

37 mg

37 mg

Adults, 18 years and older

15 mg

21 mg

Male Adults, 60 years and older

11mg

16 mg

Female Adults, 60 years and older

4 mg

6 mg

This table shows that Children get more Calcium than adults, although it is still insufficient and we are far from the recommended amounts. Older adults receive severely insufficient calcium, with females over 60 showing an alarming deficiency of calcium uptake (only 6mg).

This would not be such a problem now if today's adults had been trained early on as children that Calcium is an important nutritional component. You can make a difference now for your children's future by teaching them healthy habits regarding Calcium in their nutrition and the benefits of Calcium supplements.

Sources:

1 Optimizing Bone Health and Calcium Intakes of Infants, Children and Adolescents; Frank R. Greer, MD, Nancy F. Krebs, MD Committee on Nutrition, Pediatrics; Vol. 117, No. 2, February 2006, pp. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org

2 Calcium from Other Foods; Milk Matters; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; National Institutes of Health http://www.nichd.nih.gov/milk/prob/other_foods.cfm

3 Milk and Calcium; Milk Matters; Dietary Guidelines for Americans; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; National Institutes of Health http://www.nichd.nih.gov/milk/prob/milk_cal.cfm

4 Overweight, yet Undernourished; The Children's Health Paradox; http://www.eatsmart.org/client_images/gd20052171242391.pdf

5 Calcium, Kids and Bones; by Christine Berman http://www.leapfrog.com

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