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Bone Health

Of course you know that calcium is important for healthy bones, but did you know these specific roles? Calcium benefits include helping…
  • Children build strong bones.
  • Adolescents and young adults achieve peak bone mass.
  • Older adults minimize the amount of calcium loss from bones.
  • People of all ages maintain normal blood pressure.
Yet many adults and kids don’t get enough of this important mineral. Bone up on the information below to make sure you and your family get the recommended amount of calcium.

Calcium-Containing Recipes:

Twice-Baked Potatoes MakeoverHealthy Living
Salsa-Cheddar ChickenHealthy Living
Strawberry-Yogurt SmoothieHealthy Living

You Need Calcium at Every Age

How much do you need? Take a look at the table below.

Life Stage
Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months
200 mg
Infants 7-12 months
260 mg
Children 1-3 years
700 mg
Children 4-8 years
1,000 mg
Children 9-13 years
1,300 mg
Teens 14-18 years
1,300 mg
Adults 19-50 years
1,000 mg
Adult men 51-70 years
1,000 mg
Adult women 51-70 years
1,200 mg
Adults 71 years and older
1,200 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding teens
1,300 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding adults
1,000 mg
*Source: Institute of Medicine, 2010

Ways to Get Enough Calcium

  • Start with the Dairy Group. Dairy Group foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt are packed with calcium. MyPlate recommends 3 cups of Dairy Group foods daily (2 cups for 2-3 year olds, 2 ½ cups for 4-8 year olds). Choose low fat or fat free varieties. Try these ideas:
    • Wake up with a fat free latte (half coffee, half fat free milk).
    • Tote a yogurt in your lunch.
    • Snack on a reduced-fat 2% milk cheese stick and whole grain crackers.
    • Try a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup made with milk instead of water.
    • Satisfy your sweet tooth with Jell-O Instant Pudding, prepared with milk.
  • Look beyond the dairy case. Calcium-fortified cereals, fruit juices, soymilk, bread and cereal bars are other sources of calcium. Look for products that say “Calcium Rich,” “Added Calcium” or “Good Source of Calcium.” Almonds, sardines, canned salmon (leave in the bones!), tofu and green vegetables also contribute some calcium.
  • Get the Nutrition Facts. Use the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods to track the amount of calcium you consume and compare it to the amount you should get for the day.
  • Don’t forget D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified dairy products, fish and eggs. Your body also produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
  • Move those bones! Weight-bearing types of physical activity help strengthen bones and slow bone loss. Try walking, jogging, dancing, playing tennis or basketball, jumping rope, aerobic dancing and weight lifting. Aim for at least 30 minutes (60 minutes for kids) of physical activity daily. Learn more about physical activity.

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