Between birth and the age of 18-20, your growing child will attain 90% of their bone mass. Bone density is the key to strong bones. If your child isn’t getting proper nutrition and exercise, their bones can be compromised, making them more prone to injury and fractures.
Importance of calcium to healthy bone growth
Bone growth is most rapid during the adolescent years, and lack of calcium can cause bones to bow and be less resistant to fracture. However, only around 10% of girls and about 20% of boys get enough calcium between the ages of 9 and 13.
Failure to grow healthy bone tissue can cause serious problems later in life, especially for girls, who will start losing bone as they enter middle age. Building strong healthy bones in childhood is the best way to maintain bone health in the decades ahead.
How much calcium does your child need?
Knowing the right amount of calcium for your child can help you make sure they get their recommended daily dose.
- Kids aged 1-3 years: 700 mg
- Kids aged 4-8 years: 1000 mg
- Kids aged 9-18 years: 1300 mg
The best sources of calcium for children
How can you make sure your child is getting enough calcium? Dietary calcium is better for your child's growing body than supplemental calcium. Too little calcium or too much calcium of non-food origin can increase the chances of kidney stones. Instead of mere supplements, start by adding healthy foods to your child's diet.
Foods high in calcium include:
- Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Dark green veggies like collard greens, spinach, broccoli, and kale
- Almonds and calcium-fortified almond milk
- Edamame and tofu
Other sources of calcium include foods fortified with calcium like certain juices and cereals. For most kids, the easiest way to get enough calcium is by having dairy foods at each meal.
The “growing pains” myth
If your child complains of pain in their legs or arms, talk to Dr. Weiss. The old myth that pain is caused by bone growth is just that, a myth. It’s more likely to be muscle pain, and it’s easily treated.
Want to make sure your child’s bone health is on track? Contact our office today at 310-652-1800 to make an appointment with Dr. Weiss.