Calcium Sources for Kids
The key to building healthy bones for life
(page 1 of 2)
Who would have thought that osteoporosis — the brittle-bone disease that afflicts 10 million Americans over age 50 — is something you need to worry about for your kids? Not Maribel Burke. A few years ago, her 9-year-old daughter, Christina, mysteriously fractured each arm twice within 18 months. "The first time she was just catching a kickball," Burke says. It happened again when another child bumped into her on a slide. As one cast came off, another went on.
After putting Christina through a bone-density study, Maribel received the shocking news: Her daughter had osteoporosis.
The bone-study doctor was taken aback, too — until Burke explained that her pediatrician had told Christina to stay away from dairy products as a hedge against the migraines she had been suffering. Once Christina started drinking milk again and taking a supplement containing calcium and vitamin D, her bone density improved, and she hasn't had a fracture since.
This may sound like an extreme example, but a surprising number of kids today have weak bones that are fracturing at alarming rates. The most recent study on thetopic found that kids 8 to 14 in the Mayo Clinic’s hometown of Rochester, MN, suffered broken bones 41 percent more frequently than children did in the previous 20-year span.
"Kids are more calcium-deficient than ever before," says lead researcher A. The reason? Children are drinking way too much soda and juice and not nearly enough milk.
Calcium and vitamin D (which helps the body absorb calcium) are essential for children to develop strong, healthy bones. Nearly half of preschoolers and more than 60 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds fail to meet their daily calcium requirements, a lack that sets them up for a bone-density deficit in the future. But take the following steps now, and there’s still time to turn things around.