During all of my check ups I discuss the importance of dairy products in a child’s diet to provide adequate calcium and vitamin D for bone growth and long term bone health. It doesn’t seem that the little ones are difficult to get to drink milk, eat string cheese, have a yogurt, but the older kids are definitely more challenging.
Teenage girls seem to be one of the biggest problems when it comes to calcium intake. When I ask them if they drink milk, a typical response is “Uh, no”, then if I ask about other dairy they may say they drink the milk out of the cereal bowl, or they grab a frozen yogurt at lunch or have a slice of cheese on occasion. When I ask them if they know how much calcium and viamin D they need during the tween and teen years I also get a blank look but they do know how many texts they have on their cell phone plan!). Answer is 1300 mg/day once you hit the teen years.
With that being said, I am always encouraging more dairy products, milk and then a calcium/vitamin D supplement as well. Interestingly, they usually don’t balk at the idea of a vitamin, but the issue is getting them to stay on the supplement for more than a few days/weeks when they typically start to “forget”.
So, I was seeing a family with two teenage daughters who had heard my calcium talk before. They were both non milk drinkers, competitive cheerleaders who needed strong bones and who by now could answer my calcium questions. When I asked if they were taking their calcium supplements the mother said, “they have access to calcium and vitamins” everyday......what a great line. Well put by a mom of teens!
In fact, despite having “access” the girls readily admitted they “rarely” remembered to take them and might be more likely to up their dairy products everyday.
Calcium and vitamin D metabolism is a hot topic and “banking calcium” during childhood is so important.....even with access to the supplement you have to swallow it to make a deposit.