Milk Matters for Kids
Research shows that the amount of calcium-rich foods children eat throughout childhood and adolescence is one of the strongest factors in determining adult bone health. However, many children in the United States are falling short of the FDA’s recommended daily amount of calcium.
|Age (years)||Recommended Daily Amount of Calcium (mg)|
|1 – 3||500|
|4 – 8||800|
|9 – 18||1300|
Getting more calcium
Try these tips for getting kids to enjoy more calcium-rich foods. Always choose low-fat or fat-free versions (children age 2 and over) since the fat found in milk and dairy products is saturated fat – the unhealthy type of fat linked to increased risk for heart disease and obesity.
· Serve low-fat or fat-free milk with your child’s meals and snacks
· Snack on low-fat string cheese, yogurt and/or cottage cheese
· Make pudding with low-fat milk
· Sprinkle cheese on veggies for an extra calcium boost at meal times
· Choose calcium-fortified products like orange juice, breakfast cereals, and tofu and soy milk
· Make yogurt and fruit smoothies for a cool summer treat
How much calcium is in your food?
Most package labels list calcium as a percentage — the percent daily value (%DV). This percentage can help you determine the amount of nutrients in one serving. For example, if the label lists 15% for calcium, it means that one serving provides 15% of the calcium you need in a day. The percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Even if your diet is higher or lower in calories, you can still use the percent daily value as a guide:
· If a food has 5% or less of a nutrient, it’s considered to be low in that nutrient.
· If it has 20% or more of a nutrient, it’s considered to be high in that nutrient.
The percent daily value for calcium is 1000 milligrams per day.
There is another easy trick for figuring out how many milligrams of calcium your food contains. By simply adding “0” to the end of the percent daily value, you can calculate the milligrams of calcium per serving. For example you may see this on the food label:
Calculated milligrams of calcium based off of % Daily Value:
· Calcium 30% Daily Value = 300 milligrams calcium per serving
· Calcium 20% Daily Value = 200 milligrams calcium per serving
· Calcium 10% Daily Value = 100 milligrams calcium per serving