Is your tween getting enough calcium?

Is your tween getting enough calcium?

Tweens grow a lot and parents need only look at their clothing bill to prove it.  All that bone growth means that tweens need a significant amount of calcium. Is your tween getting enough calcium?

Chances are, probably not.  A study found that only about 12% of girls and 17% of boys aged 9 to 13 years old consumed the recommended daily amount of calcium.

It doesn't necessarily get better as kids get older.

For teens between 14 and 18 year sold,  only 10% of girls consumed enough calcium daily. Boys that age did better, with 42% of boys consuming the recommended amount, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Calcium needs vary by age and offers this chart from the NIH website:

At ages Children and teens should consume this much calcium every day:
Younger than 6 months 200 mg/day
6 ot 12 months 260 mg/day
1 to 3 years 700 mg/day
4 to 8 years 1,000 mg/day
9 to 13 years 1,300 mg/day
14 to 18 years 1,300 mg/day

Tweens and teens need more calcium than adults, for whom the FDA says recommended daily value of calcium is 1,000 milligrams.

For a frame of reference, an 8 ounce glass of milk has 300 milligrams.

I thought my daughter was drinking milk at lunch. Turns out, she wasn't. SmartWater is the big beverage among seventh graders and the milk has been declared "gross."

The amount of calcium in Smart Water?

10 milligrams.


Looking at my daughter's diet, she hasn't been getting enough calcium since school started. So, we're changing that. We talked with her about the importance of getting enough calcium and how it build strong bones, which are so important now and for the rest of her life.

In addition to drinking more milk and including more dairy, we investigated some other sources of calcium around our house when milk and dairy isn't sounding good?

The calcium fortified orange juice? Good, with 350 milligrams per serving.

Cheerios and other fortified cereals? Decent at 100 milligrams per serving.

Other calcium-rich foods?

Spinach, broccoli, and bok choy and other dark green, leafy vegetables, as well as some fish and tofu and other soy foods, according to KidsHealth.

Exercise is another important part of building strong bones in tweens and teens.

The NIH recommends that children and teens aged 6 to 17 years get a total of 60 minutes of weight-bearing

physical activity daily. That doesn't have to be 60 consecutive minute, but rather small bursts of activity can be combined to get the full hour kids need.

Those activities include:






Lifting Weights


It's worth noting that while swimming and bicycling do help build strong muscles, they are not weight band having strong muscles helps build strong bones. Those activities are, however, also good for the heart and for overall health.

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