As a person who is experiencing growing back pains, for the longest time, I told myself that my desk is responsible for this damage. And that it is not my fault after all. But what I did not realize is that it is indeed my fault. Maybe more of a past mistake than a present one. If you do not understand what I am talking about, don’t worry because I didn’t at first. I am talking about my calcium deficiency and my negligence in calcium intake in my childhood years.
So why not fulfilling my calcium deficiencies now you may ask. Well, the simple answer is that our body stops absorbing mineral calcium after teen years. To understand more about it I actually contacted a friend of mine who happens to be a licensed Pediatrician in Karachi and below is the summary of what I found.
Importance Of Calcium
I am sure all of us are aware of the fact that our body uses mineral calcium to build our bones. But this process stops as soon as our height stops growing. And from there bone calcium only decreases as we age.
Calcium deficiency can cause serious complications for both children and adults, especially women later in life. Some of them include rickets, muscle pain, lack of growth, and weakness in children. While it is responsible for weak bones, high risk of fractures, and osteoporosis in adults.
Calcium is also important for releasing some hormones and enzymes along with the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Daily Calcium Requirement For Children And Teens
The fact that most teens nowadays consume more caffeine than milk is pretty evident that they’re not fulfilling their daily calcium requirement. The requirement of calcium varies among different age groups. The amount of intake per day recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is:
- 700 milligrams for one to three year old
- 1000 milligrams for four to eight year old
- 1300 milligrams for nine to eighteen year old
Along with the required amount of calcium mentioned above, it is important to feed your children 600 IU of vitamin D daily. Make sure these requirements are fulfilled either by food or by supplements recommended by your child’s pediatrician.
Natural Sources Of Calcium
Apart from milk and dairy, there are some other foods rich in calcium and added vitamin D. For instance, low-fat yogurt, broccoli, almonds, white and red beans, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, bok choy, etc.
Tips To Improve Your Child’s Calcium Intake
Coral calcium intake can be fulfilled only by oral consumption of calcium supplements or calcium-rich food but sadly oftentimes children refuse to eat healthy foods. In that case here are some sneaky tips to add calcium to your child’s diet:
- Look for calcium-rich versions of their favorite snacks and cereals
- Make plain milk or yogurt interesting by adding fruits and toppings so that children would like it more
- Add low-fat cheese as a topping on their food
- Add beans to their favorite gravy or soup
- Serve leafy veggies on the side with every meal
For Children With Sensitivities
Some children might be allergic to certain food. Nevertheless, it is important that calcium intake should not be compromised because of their condition. Here are some of the sensitivities and ways to tackle them:
As people have started gaining more and more awareness about lactose intolerance, more lactose-free substitutes are now available in the market. Also, sometimes doctors provide such medicine that helps children consume lactose-rich foods without getting any allergic reactions.
Children With Milk Allergy
If your child is allergic to milk or any other dairy product, consult the issue with their pediatrician. There are many vegan formulas for dairy products available in the market. The doctor can prescribe calcium-rich but a dairy-free substitute for the foods your child is allergic to.
Vegans And Vegetarians
People today are aware of veganism and vegetarianism more than ever before. Tell your child specialist about your preferences and they will prescribe you alternate foods accordingly.
Do not overlook vitamin D in the diet of your children as vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand. For that, make sure children have enough exposure to sunlight and are consuming food high in vitamin D. Also, encourage your children to be physically active!