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Calcium

Calcium is an important mineral that everyone needs every day. This is so you can maintain what we like to call, a “positive balance”. About 99% of the calcium found in the body is stored in your bones and teeth where it provides structure and strength. That’s why your pearly whites are so strong.

Thanks to dairy, making sure you get enough calcium is simple. Eating the recommended serves of dairy every day as part of a healthy, balanced diet will provide most people with their average daily requirements for calcium. 

So how do you know if you’re getting enough calcium? Take a look at the guide below:

 

Recommended Daily Intake for Adults*          
Adult – men 19-70 Years
70+ Years
1,000 (mg)
1,300 (mg)
Adult – women 19-50 Years
51+ Years
1,000 (mg)
1,300 (mg)
Pregnant women 14-18 Years
19-50 Years
1,300 (mg)
1,000 (mg)
Breastfeeding women 14-18 Years
19-50 Years
1,300 (mg)
1,000 (mg)
Recommended Daily Intake for Teenagers*    
Teenage – boys 14-18 Years 1,300 (mg)
Teenage – girls 14-18 Years 1,300 (mg)



 

Recommended Daily Intake for Children*                         
Children - boys and girls                     1-3 Years 500 (mg)
  4-8 Years 700 (mg)
  9-13 Years 1,000 – 1,300 (mg)


*Source: NHMRC: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, 2006 Visit www.nhmrc.gov.au for more details.

Calcium and kids

In 2007 the Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey found that many school-aged children are not meeting their dietary calcium requirement.

The survey also showed that as children get older, there’s a significant decrease in their intake of milk products and dishes. Not only are they missing out on the great taste of dairy, but they’re also missing out on essential nutrients to help them grow into healthy adults.

Young kids really enjoy foods that are fun and a bit different. However fussy eaters can be a problem at this age. Using dairy products in cooking is one way of making sure they have some calcium rich foods.  Some other simple and nutritious options are:

  • An after school milkshake or smoothie made with fresh or canned fruit.
  • Cheese sandwiches cut into special shapes such as stars or moons.
  • A lunch box with cheese sticks, cheese slices or a tub of yoghurt.
  • An evening meal served with a glass of milk, some yoghurt or some ice cream and fruit.
  • Fussy eaters can be a problem at this age. Using dairy products in cooking is one way of making sure they have some calcium rich foods.

Calcium and teenagers

Well, haven’t you shot up? Strewth. In case you hadn’t noticed, teenagers grow, a lot.

In order to grow taller and stronger, teens need dairy products to supply calcium. This calcium is essential so that maximum bone mass is achieved.

This means you’ll have strong bones, and store plenty of calcium for later on in life.

Studies show that the more calcium you have as a teen, the higher your bone density later on in life.

Now, while calcium needs are high at this time, teenagers often don’t eat a lot of dairy. When teens skip meals, or eat fast food, they’re often missing out on important nutrients that dairy offers. But don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to eat ‘smarter’ (and cheaper) without interfering with this lifestyle.

For example, if you get up late, a bowl of cereal with milk can be eaten in just a couple of minutes. This is a great snack anytime, after school or with the evening meal. Or you could have a long glass of milk and grab some fruit or some whole meal bread to eat on your way. Cheese and dry biscuits are an easy snack food that tastes great and provides a better choice for thoese who are watching their weight.

Calcium and adulthood

Even though you’ve stopped growing, as an adult you still need to consume plenty of calcium rich foods. From the age of 20 to early 30s our bones go through a “consolidation phase”. Basically, this means that the calcium we take in is used to lay down good bone density, which helps to protect your bones.

As we progress through older adulthood, it is important to reduce or prevent bone loss and fracture and minimise the risk of developing osteoporosis. Therefore , it is vital to have adequate levels of calcium in the body, and calcium intake needs to be high enough to maintain these body levels, particularly in bone.

For more information visit Osteoporosis Australia www.osteoporosis.org.au.

Dairy Goodness - Calcium - kids
Dairy Goodness - Calcium - teens
Dairy Goodness - Calcium - adults