Calcium intake and your child

It is important to maintain good nutrition for adequate growth and development according to Dr Peter Rhodes, Nutritionalist.To achieve this the child’s intake needs to be high in calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals he said.

Calcium in particular has been shown to be important in the development of strong bones and teeth. We all know that I guess. But low levels of calcium during the younger half of life, and continued through adolescence may contribute to the development of osteoporosis in later years ( significant for females). Calcium is also important for other bodily functions according to

Calcium Use

Vitamin D helps to absorb and properly consume calcium.

How much Calcium do children need?

Calcium Consumption recommendations for Australian children:

1- 7 years and boys 8 – 11 years at 800 mg per day

Boys  12-15 years    – 1200 mg
16 – 18 years  – 1000 mg

Girls  8 – 11 years     –   900 mg

12- 15 years     – 1000mg

16 -18 years      – 800 mg

Adult women  700 – 1200 mg
Adult men       300-  500 mg

Previous Australian surveys have insisted that the average children’s intake is much lower than this. Many years ago children were given free milk to drink at morning tea. Whilst this was good for most, it made others more sensitive to this, feel quite sick..

We can not store calcium in later life, we have to continually replenish it. The best time for calcium intake is youth…..

Sources of Calcium
The most common source of Calcium comes from dairy foods, particularly  milk cheese and yoghurt.

Milk and yoghurt contain significant levels of lactose which tends to enhance calcium absorption. Most cheese also supply significant calcium although they do lack lactose.
the fat content of milk does not affect the level of Calcium.
See Calcium rich foods below:

Does Soy milk a substitute as a calcium source?

It is also worth remembering that not all soy milk contains calcium. Always check the label for added calcium. Calcium in soy milk is added inorganic calcium. Generally it will have poorer absorption qualities. This is not to scare consumers away from these products, but make them aware that the Calcium is not the same as that found in cows milk.

How can I determine how much calcium a child is getting?

Construct a food diary for a week containing all the foods consumed and present this to your local dietician who will be able to do a complete analysis of the child’s diet.

Calcium is a mineral that can be easily neglected…. Toddlers generally should consume about 3 serves of dairy foods per day to reach the daily recommendations for calcium consumption.

1 serve = 200 ml milk or 1 cup yoghurt or 35 g cheese
has this info:

During periods of growth the demand for calcium is greater than usual, although some calcium is incorporated into bone at certain other stages of life. Thus, children, adolescents and pregnant and lactating women need additional calcium. Adults continually need to replace calcium that is lost from the body in urine and faeces and to a lesser extent in sweat.


Dairy foods are very high in calcium, see the values given in the following table.

Food Calcium
Calcium in Dairy Products
Skim Milk 1 cup 301
Whole Milk 1 cup 290
Plain Low fat Yogurt 1 cup 415
Cow Milk Cottage Cheese (Paneer) 1 cup 208
Baffalo Milk Cottage Cheese (Paneer) 1 cup 480
Feta cheese 40 g 144
Whipped Cream, 15 g 13
Calcium in Beans & Grains
White beans 3/4 cup 120
Navy beans 3/4 cup 94
Black Turtle beans 3/4 cup 75
Chickpeas (Chhole) 3/4 cup 58
Tofu 150g 350
Soy bean curd slab 150g 310
Cooked Soy bean 1 cup 130
Instant oats, 1 pkt 165
Calcium in Nuts
Almonds roasted 1/4 cup 93
Brazil Nuts 20 g 34
Hazlenuts 20 g 28
Walnuts 20 g 19
Almonds butter 2 Tbsp 88
Sesame seeds 12 g 80
Rice, plain, boiled 180 g 32
Calcium in Vegetables & Fruits
Cabbage/bok choy 1/2 cup 190
Turnip greens 1/2 cup 104
Broccoli 1/2 cup 33
Okra 1/2 cup 65
Orange 1/2 cup 52
Orange juice fortified with calcium 1/2 cup 165
Calcium in Fish
Sardines in oil, tinned, 100 g 500
Salmon, tinned, 100 g 91
Fish paste, 35 g 98
Calcium in Breads, Pizza
White bread, 1 slice 30 g 53
Wholemeal bread, 1 slice 30 g 32
Muesli, Swiss style, 50 g 55
Lasagne, 400 g 400
Pizza, cheese & tomato, 410 g 873
Pasta, plain, cooked, 230 g 85

From the above list you can chose foods high in Calcium.
Following is a list of foods that give you more than 300 mg of calcium per 100 gm of that food.

  1. Milk and milk products
  2. Cereals and Grains
  3. Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of calcium. Beetroot greens, Drumstick leaves, Fenugreek leaves, Turnip greens, Lotus stems, Curry leaves
  4. Spices:Cumin, Coriander, Cloves, Asafoetida (Hing), Oregano (Ajwain), Mustard seeds
  5. Fish

Well I think I will go and have a drink of milk… skim milk of course, in up my daily intake. As someone who has always had a protein intolerance to dairy products, I am at risk for developing the aforementioned diseases, particularly osteoporosis… so I continue weight-bearing exercise as an adjunct to calcium supplements.
The daily requirements are something for me to ponder about, particularly at mealtimes….


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