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Sunday, September 03, 2006

More Calcium for Teens

Scientists have found calcium on the moon. Maybe it is really made of cheese.

You don't need to go quite that far to get calcium into your diet, though I'm sure the walk would do you good. As everybody should know, considering that the American Dairy Council keeps telling us, few Americans get enough calcium from their diets. And teens are especially at risk.

So as Marlia Braun, a University of California at Davis Sports Medicine staff member told a 17-year-old girl who wrote to the Sacramento Bee:

Up to 90 percent of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys, which makes youth the best time to invest in bone health.

The recommended amount of calcium for ages 9 to 18 is 1,300 milligrams (mg) per day. Some of the foods that contain calcium are: 1 cup milk, 300 mg; 1 cup yogurt, 250 mg.; 4 ounces tofu, 250 mg.; 1 ounce slice cheese, 200 mg.; 1 cup raw spinach, 25 mg. The most concentrated sources of calcium are dairy products; other foods contain calcium but in smaller amounts relative to the portion.

Calcium intake at your age is important. I suggest reconsidering some of your beverages and snacks, and choosing a replacement with calcium to reach your goal of 1,300 mg per day.

Lowfat milk, liquid yogurts, and other dairy products are sources of drinkable calcium. If you're lactose intolerant and dairy allergic and avoiding milk, then orange juice fortified with calcium is easy to find. Always use 100% juice juices, not ades or punches or cocktails. Although fruit juices are mostly sugar, they are better for you than sodas, but nutritionists still prefer that you find something with less sugar. (No, not diet pop.)

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