Study: Dairy May Not Build Strong Bones in Kids
But Dairy Industry Says Science Is on Its Side
Dairy: More Than Calcium continued...
"(Studies) indicate that milk intake during childhood and adolescence is
associated with greater bone mass and protection against fractures in later
years," the Dairy Council's bone health summary states.
Greer tells WebMD it is not clear if calcium intake during childhood and
adolescence has a long-term impact on bone health.
"The thinking has been that if bone mineral density is as high as
possible in adolescence then that will help protect against osteoporosis when
someone is 65," he says. "But we really don't know if that is the
Greer says physical activity may be more important for promoting good bone
health than calcium intake. Heredity may be the most important single predictor
"No one can tell you unequivocally which of these three things is most
important for preventing osteoporosis," he says. "It is not clear if
calcium intake in early life influences bone density in women with strong
hereditary risk factors."
But Greer says he supports the new government guidelines calling on
Americans to drink more milk. He even serves as the American Academy of
Pediatrics representative for the Dairy Council's "3-A-Day for Stronger
"You get a lot more from dairy products than just calcium," he says.
"It is our major source of vitamin D in the diet and a good source of
vitamin A and potassium. We know that children and adolescents are drinking a
lot , so anything we can do to change that would be a good
Calcium From Veggies
An 8 oz glass of dairy contains about 300 mg of calcium. But if dairy isn't
your thing, you can get your calcium from vegetables.
These vegetables have the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk:
- 1 1/2 cups of cooked kale
- 2 1/4 cups of cooked broccoli
- 8 cups of cooked spinach
How Much Calcium Do You Need?
The amount of calcium you need is based on your age. Calcium requirements
are especially high in older people due to the increased risk of the
bone-thinning condition osteoporosis. However, research suggests that building
bones at an early age and keeping them strong is vital to having strong bones
as you age.
|Recommended Calcium Intake
|0 to 6 months
|7 to 12 months
|1 to 3 years
|4 to 8 years
|9 to 13 years
|14 to 18 years
|19 to 50 years