The Role of Calcium for Children and Its Daily Dose
Calcium is rightly emphasized as one of the most important minerals in a child's diet.
Calcium is the main building block of the skeleton, and a child's bones can continue to grow until the age of 25. If children don't get enough calcium, they may face long-term consequences that could permanently hinder their health and growth.
Fortunately, most Indonesian children can get adequate amounts of calcium through their diet. Some kids can do it for a bit more, and it's important to make sure they get it.
Here's what parents need to know about the importance of calcium for children, introducing calcium-rich foods to their children, and when to consider supplementing calcium for children.
What is Calcium?
Calcium is a necessary mineral. The body contains and uses more calcium than any other mineral because calcium plays an important role in its growth and maintenance.
The material of teeth and bones is hardened and enriched by calcium, which makes them strong and tough. Calcium can help bones to heal and restore themselves.
Muscles and nerves need calcium for them to communicate and function properly. Calcium helps facilitate and regulate muscle contractions, including the contraction of the heart when it beats.
When nerves relay important instructions to muscles, they release calcium. Calcium tells muscles to behave as expected.
The Importance Of Calcium For Children
Calcium is a very important mineral for people of all ages. Teenagers and adults need calcium to keep their bodies functioning because it is made to function and repair minor damage to bones.
Older adults and seniors need calcium to prevent bone degeneration that may occur naturally with age. Children need calcium to grow.
Children are still building bone mass. As their bones grew taller and stronger, so did they.
Without adequate amounts of calcium, it is possible that children will never reach their full growth potential or may develop complications related to bone health later in life.
How Much Calcium Do Children Need?
Children need more calcium than any other mineral, and their need for large amounts of calcium begins at birth.
Both breast milk and high-quality formula must naturally meet the calcium needs of babies who are not yet able to eat regular foods.
- Up to 6 Months – 200 mg daily
- Seven months to 1 year – 260 mg daily
- One year to 3 years – 700 mg daily
- Four years to 8 years – 1,000 mg daily
- Nine years to 13 years -- 1,300 mg daily
What Happens When Your Child Doesn't Get Enough Calcium?
Calcium deficiency has very serious consequences that may not be reversible. It's important to take your child's calcium intake seriously to avoid potential illnesses that can cause pain and significantly impair bodily functions.
Osteomalacia is a condition that causes dangerous softening of the bones. Calcium deficiency can lead to osteomalacia, and vitamin D deficiency is an equally important factor.
Osteomalacia is considered a defect in bone maturation and is mainly caused by a lack of proper nutrition from childhood to adolescence.
Rickets is a condition that causes weakening and softening of bones. Calcium and Vitamin D work together to strengthen bones and help them grow.
Children with rickets may experience significant delays in natural growth. If left untreated, rickets can lead to permanent bone deformities.
Children with rickets sometimes need major corrective surgery to correct bone deformations. Bone strength can be replenished with extra calcium and vitamin D supplements, although some of the effects of rickets may be long-term.
As we age, our bodies take in and use calcium from our bones and replace it with calcium from our diet. If your child's bones are not properly enriched with calcium, bone remodeling can cause severe and potentially painful problems.
Entering adulthood with strong and healthy bones can minimize the risk of premature bone loss. Continuing to consume adequate amounts of calcium throughout life can further prevent this condition.
Calcium Needs to be Used with Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are equally important. Without vitamin D, calcium is of little use to the child's body. The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium properly., calcium will simply pass through the body without strengthening bones or teeth.
Read: When is the best time to take vitamin D?
Everyone needs a minimum of 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D a day. People with bone disorders, calcium or vitamin D deficiency, those at risk for osteoporosis, and people over the age of 70 may need additional vitamin D.
Vitamin D is mostly known as a fat-soluble vitamin, but it is also a hormone that the body produces when exposed to certain stimuli such as sunlight.
Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods, and prolonged sun exposure without sunscreen has the potential to cause skin cancer. This creates hard rocks and places.
Many foods that contain calcium are fortified with vitamin D because sources of vitamin D are very limited. It's best not to assume that something contains vitamin D just because it contains calcium. Peanut butter is a prime example.
Although it contains a small amount of calcium, it is unlikely to contain vitamin D. When choosing foods for your children, make sure they contain both.
Foods Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D
No food contains calcium and vitamin D naturally. The only exception is breast milk, which contains very little vitamin D. Pediatricians often recommend vitamin D supplementation for breastfed infants.
The most efficient way to give your child both vitamin D and calcium at the same time is to choose food products that have been enhanced with additional vitamins.
Most cow's milk in the United States is fortified with vitamin D. While there is no official mandate for this fortification, responsible dairy producers take extra steps to ensure the body can use the calcium obtained from milk.
As a result of this fortification process, most dairy products made with fortified cow's milk also contain calcium and vitamin D. Although that's usually the case, you should always read the nutrition facts to be sure.
Lactose intolerant children, children with milk allergies, and children in vegan households should not consume dairy products. Soy milk is a decent approximation to cow's milk. It contains protein and many of the same vitamins and minerals.
One serving of America's most popular unsweetened and unflavored soy milk contains 45% of the daily recommended value of calcium and 30% of the daily recommended value of vitamin D. It should be relatively easy to give children two servings of soy milk. a day, helping them achieve most of their goals with just two cups.
Some juices, cereals, and oatmeal products are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. These are foods that most children will probably like. As long as you choose varieties without added sugar in bulk, these fortified foods can easily play a part in your child's healthy and balanced diet.
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