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Children's Health

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Calcium Intake Found Too Low in Children and Adolescents


Is there anything that can be done to enhance the effects of calcium? Yes, Baker says. Exercise increases the amount of calcium that is deposited in the bones. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium, she says, but most kids don't have any problem in this department, since sunshine and most of the dairy products are major sources of vitamin D.

Is there such a thing as too much calcium? Calcium deposits in muscles are possible, says Baker; however, it is "almost impossible" to overdose on calcium through food. "The worry would be if people used supplements," she says. "[And] you really have to take a lot of supplements [to overdose]. ? We really recommend that people use food to meet their dietary requirements. Only under unusual circumstances do we recommend supplements -- in general, in consultation with a health care provider."

Vital Information:

  • Children and adolescents do not consume enough calcium, which is available from milk, fortified juices, dairy products, white beans, broccoli, sardines, and sweet potatoes.
  • Children should consume 800 mg of calcium each day, and preteens and adolescents should consume 1,200 to 1,500 mg per day.
  • Calcium is important for bone health, preventing osteoporosis later in life, and possibly regulating blood pressure.
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