Calcium should be an important ingredient of food we eat. This is essential to maximize the bone density, especially in adults. Deficiency of calcium can start from the age when one is a kid and once this happens, this deficiency may continue for life. Keeping this in mind, it is essential that kids should consume adequate quantity of milk or other substitute drinks, do exercise and minimize consumption of carbonated drinks. Though low fat milk is best for kids but newer substitutes like soya milk are taking its place, being easily available and cost effective. As per study, a small increase in consumption of milk results in significant increase in bone mineral content, which reflects the density and calcium stored in bones.
Over a period of time, women have learnt about calcium deficiency and development of osteoporosis problem in older age, resulting in fractured bones, but by the time realisation comes, it is too late, as accumulation starts from child hood. Thus it is clear that for stronger bones, including teeth, adequate calcium administration is a must. According to researchers, due to reduced intake of milk in USA, serious calcium deficiency problem has been created in kids.
For stronger bones it is essential to start intake of adequate quantity of calcium from childhood. This can be achieved in the following manner:
- Recommended quantity of calcium containing food should be consumed.
- Absorption of calcium while food passes through gut.
- The bones should store adequate quantity of calcium, and loss should be prevented.
To achieve this, consumption of calcium rich food should be adequate, one should do sufficient exercise to build bones and above all cut down on soda drinks which tend to dissolve bones.
Though there is no formal guideline in this regard but Calcium requirement in children between 4 to 8 years of age has been estimated at 800 mg/day. Each glass of milk measuring 8 Oz contains about 300 mg of calcium, thus three glasses of milk a day will enable children to get sufficient quantity of calcium. In case of certain children who are not able to drink milk or have digestion problem, soya and rice milk can be of help but these need to be fortified with vitamins. Orange juice can also be considered as a supplement but it not that rich in Vitamin D which is required for absorption of calcium by the body. For those in the age group of 9 to 18, the daily requirement has been estimated at 1300 mg per day, which has to come from food and milk.
As per the study conducted in USA, the children in the age group of 9 to 13 are consuming about 800 mg per day while those between 14 to 18 are consuming 1000 mg. Instead of increasing due to bad food habits and figure cautiousness, the intake in the later age group goes down to 700 mg per day. This has reflection on the body of the girls when they reach the age of child bearing. As the maximum absorption of calcium is at the time one achieves the age of puberty, the deficiency reflects in later years.