Osteoporosis: the loss of bone density or thinning of the bones. This thinning causes bone weakness, and eventually the involved bone may break. Osteoporosis affects over 28 million women and men in this country.
90% of adult women and almost half of all children in this country fall short of meeting their calcium recommendations.
Many adults erroneously think they don't need to drink milk anymore. However, bones continue to grow in density until the mid-30s, and after that, the calcium in milk is important to help prevent bone loss.
Even when children are finished growing in length, they are still growing bone density. You can actually store up calcium in your “bone bank” in the teen yours, which will help your body fend off the bone-depleting effects of aging.
How Much Calcium Do We need?
ü Kids ages 1-3 need 500 mg of calcium a day, or about two 8-oz. glasses of milk
ü Kids ages 4-8 need 800 mg of calcium a day, or about three 8-oz. glasses of milk
ü Teens ages 9-18 need 1,300 mg of calcium a day, or about four 8-oz. glasses of milk
ü Adults ages 19-50 need 1,000 mg of calcium a day, or at least three 8-oz. glasses of milk
ü Adults over the age of 50 need 1,200 mg of calcium a day, or four 8-oz. glasses of milk
Aren't there a lot of other ways, besides consuming dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, to get calcium?
Dairy's powerful package of calcium plus eight key nutrients fuels your body, not just your bones. Without milk, cheese and yogurt in your diet, it's very difficult to get enough calcium. Other foods contain calcium in smaller amounts, and the calcium in some, such as spinach, is poorly absorbed. In fact, you would need to eat 8 cups of spinach to equal the amount of calcium absorbed from 1 cup of milk.
I've heard that dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt do not help reduce the risk of osteoporosis - is that true?
No, in fact the opposite is true. Good health starts with dairy. Eat more low fat dairy foods to better manage your weight and reduce your risk for osteoporosis, as well as high blood pressure, and certain cancers.
Why can't someone just take a calcium supplement?
Supplements are not substitutes. A calcium pill shouldn't take the place of the calcium in food. A glass of milk, for example, not only provides calcium but also eight other essential nutrients. One of these key nutrients is vitamin D, which is important for calcium absorption.
(National Dairy Council)