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Bones and teeth develop at a young age, so it is important for children to get the proper amounts of calcium. Children who get enough have the strongest bones possible moving into adulthood. This means they will have reduced chance of bone loss when they are older. Calcium also aides in the formation of new teeth and neutralizes harmful acids that can damage tooth enamel. This helps to prevent tartar build-up and cavities.

About one-third of kids aged 4 to 8 aren’t getting enough of this vital mineral, according to government data. How much do your children need each day?

Calcium requirements by age

The National Institute of Health recommends the following daily calcium levels by age:

0-6 months: 200 mg

7-12 months: 260 mg

1 to 3 years: 700 mg

4 to 8 years: 1,000 mg

9 to 18 years: 1,300 mg

19 to 50 years: 1,000 mg

Ninety-nine percent of the body’s calcium is stored in the teeth and bones. It makes them strong. However, did you know that it is also necessary for functions in muscles and the heart? A deficiency can lead to serious health concerns.

Remember the vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium. Typical child-friendly foods are not high in vitamin D, so pediatricians often recommend supplements. Also, babies who have only breast milk may need a vitamin D supplement. Baby formula has vitamin D added. If your baby has difficulty transitioning from breast milk or formula to cow’s milk, keep trying as he or she gets older.

Recommended foods

Milk, cheese, pudding, and yogurt should be a regular part of your family’s diet. Other foods that provide calcium for a healthy body include salmon, kale, broccoli, and soybeans (edamame). Make sure your children have at least one calcium-rich food for every meal.