WATE 6 On Your Side staff - KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Recent studies show that many children don't receive enough calcium and vitamin D, both of which are crucial for strong bones. However, if your child isn't a milk drinker there are still ways to boost their calcium and vitamin D intake.
Not only does calcium build strong bones, it keeps the nerves and muscles working and the heart healthy.
The teen years are the most important period for growing bones. This is when the bones absorb the most amount of calcium. More than any other point in life. During the years 9 to 18, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommend 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day. That's about four glasses or servings of milk. younger children need two to three.
If your child won't drink milk, soy and almond milk are good sources of calcium. Besides diary products, calcium can be found in dark leafy vegetables like kale, edamame, almonds, and white and red beans.
Chocolate milk is okay, and it's better if you have chocolate flavored skim milk or add drops of chocolate syrup into milk.
Other tips include:
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements if they are needed. Your child's pediatrician can guide you as to the appropriate dosage for your child's needs.
- Use calcium-fortified foods like cereals, bread, orange juice, and granola bars. Some of these foodstuffs contain so much calcium that a single serving can be half the daily recommendation.
- Go easy on salt
- Stay physically active. Kids and teens should get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
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