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Nutrition Facts

Are your kids getting enough calcium?

According to a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, eating calcium-rich dairy foods during childhood and adolescence will help build strong bones and reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life.1

According to the USDA data 7 out of 10 teen boys and 9 out of 10 teen girls are not getting the calcium they need.2,3

To learn more about ensuring a calcium-rich diet, visit 3aday.org for a questionnaire developed jointly by the AAP and National Dairy Council (NDC) as part of the 3-A-Day of Dairy for Stronger Bones program. It provides questions, answers and guidance for parents.

Registered dietitians at the NDC offer these additional ideas to encourage kids to eat more calcium-rich dairy:

  • Salsa Roll-Up: Roll Monterey Jack cheese into a whole-wheat tortilla and dip in salsa
  • Parfait Pleaser: Layer granola and fresh fruit with low-fat yogurt

Strong Teeth

New research finds that milk helps build strong teeth and may help prevent tooth decay. Besides calcium, milk contains proteins that work against cavity-causing bacteria, as well as antibacterials that promote oral health overall.

Before they come in, baby teeth and adult teeth need calcium to develop fully. And once the adult teeth are in, calcium may also help protect them against decay.

Weight Control

A recent study by the Agricultural Research Service found that individuals participating in a weight loss program that included three or more servings of dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese lost more body fat than those that consumed no dairy foods or calcium supplements.

They also discovered that an average intake of 1400 mg of calcium a day suppressed bone turnover, a problem that is usually elevated with food restriction and leads to osteoporosis in chronic dieters.4

Milk and Pregnancy

Dairy products provide the calcium you and your baby need for strong bones and teeth. Dairy products are a great source of vitamin A and D, protein, and B vitamins. Vitamin A helps fetal growth and vision and fights infection.

Pregnant women are encouraged to consume 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day.

Source: http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/pregnancy/eat.cfm#nutrients


1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Optimizing bone health and calcium intakes of infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2006; 117 (2):578-585.

2. USDA’s 1994-96 continuing survey of food intakes by individuals and 1994-96 diet and knowledge survey. Riverdale, MD: US Department of Agriculture; 1999. Available at: www.usda.gov Search under "Food Surveys."

3. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1997.

4. Agricultural Research Service, Research Project: Role of Dairy Products in Weight Loss: a Multi-Center Trial Annual Report 2004