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Help Prevent Later Osteoporosis

By Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

While osteoporosis is generally seen as a problem in later life, the most critical time for preventing the condition is in childhood and adolescence.  It is estimated that 14 million people will have the disease by 2020.  80% of those with the problem are women.

During the years of peak skeletal growth, teenagers accumulate 25% of adult bone.  In this day and age, fast food often replaces nutritious meals at home and sodas replace Calcium + D milk.  Fractures in children have increased over the last four decades.

The important nutrients to increase bone mineral density are calcium and vitamin D.  A study conducted on calcium intake between boys and girls showed that girls had the lowest intakes, with older girls consuming less than younger girls.

Studies have also shown that regular physical activity is essential for good bone health.  It is recommended for children to get 60 minutes of daily physical activity, including 30 minutes of vigorous activity for good bone health.

The recommended Dietary Allowances for calcium is 1000 mg/day for boys and girls ages 4 – 8 and 1300 mg/day for those aged 9 – 18.  Calcium + vitamin D supplements may be needed for those who can’t or don’t consume dairy foods.  As always, please consult your doctor before beginning a supplement routine.


Calcium in foods:                                                             mg

Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces


Cheddar cheese, 1.5 ounces


Milk, nonfat, 8 ounces


Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 ounces


Orange juice, calcium-fortified, 6 ounces


Salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone, 3 ounces


Pudding, chocolate, instant, made with 2% milk, ½ cup


Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 1 cup unpacked


Spinach, cooked, ½ cup


Ready-to-eat cereal, calcium-fortified, 1 cup


Ice cream, vanilla, ½ cup


Broccoli, raw, ½ cup


Bread, whole-wheat, 1 slice




Webb, Denise, PhD, RD, Best Defense:  Early Exercise and Proper Nutrition Can Help Prevent Later Osteoporosis, Today’s Dietitian Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 5, p. 14-15.


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By Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian
Categories:  Kid's Health & Safety

About the Author

Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

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