Calcium and Vitamin D Builds Strong Bones
Why does your child need calcium?
- The main mineral in bones is calcium. Calcium adds strength to bones to support the body. Providing your child enough calcium is important to form a strong skeleton.
- The best food sources of calcium are dairy products. There are also some non-dairy foods that are good sources of calcium. Calcium supplements should only be given as your doctor recommends.
- Soda decreases the absorption of calcium in the intestines. Limit the amount of soda your child drinks daily.
|Less than 6 months ||210|
|6-12 months ||270|
|1 year up to 4 years ||500|
|4 years up to 9 years ||800|
|9 years up to 18 years ||1300|
Why is Vitamin D important?
- Your child also needs vitamin D to help his/her body absorb the calcium. Vitamin D moves calcium from the intestine to the bloodstream and into the bones.
- Vitamin D is found in a variety of foods including fish and egg yolks. Read the label to see if the milk you use is fortified with vitamin D.
- Sunshine exposure is also a significant way of increasing vitamin D in the body. The ultraviolet rays from the sunlight cause the skin to produce vitamin D. If your child is in the sunlight (without sunscreen) three times a week for about 10 to 15 minutes each time, he/she will get enough UV rays to produce vitamin D. Adequate sunshine can be difficult to obtain during the winter months so a food source may be needed.
- Vitamin D Requirements: Birth to 18 years is 400 IU per day.
- Breastfed infants should be supplemented with 400 IU of vitamin D within the first days of life.
- All formula fed infants, as well as older children, who are consuming less than 32 ounces of vitamin fortified formula or milk, should receive vitamin D supplement of 400 IU per day.
What foods are high in Calcium?
|Food Item||Amount||Calcium Content|
|Whole Grain Total||3/4 cup||800 mg|
|Sardines||3 ounces||371 mg|
|Yogurt (plain)||8 ounces||274 - 415 mg|
|Milk||8 ounces||291 - 316 mg|
|Soy Milk||1 cup||240 mg|
|Tofu||3 ounces||225 mg|
|Basic 4 Cereal||1 cup||200 mg|
|Processed cheese||1 ounces||159 - 219 mg|
|Salmon w/ bones||3 ounces||167 mg|
|Total Corn Flakes||1 cup||150 mg|
|Sour Cream||4 ounces||134 mg|
|Shrimp||3 ounces||98 mg|
|Broccoli (cooked)||1 cup||94 - 177 mg|
|Kale||1 cup||94 - 179 mg|
|Cottage cheese||1/2 cup||77 mg|
|Flintstones Complete Multiple vitamin and mineral supplement||1 chewable tablet||160mg|
What foods are high in Vitamin D?
|Food Item||Amount||Vitamin D Content|
|Cod liver oil||1 Tablespoon||1,360 IU|
|Salmon||3 1/2 ounces||360 IU|
|Mackerel||3 1/2 ounces||345 IU|
|Tuna fish||3 ounces||200 IU|
|Sardines||1 3/4 ounces||250 IU|
|Milk, vitamin D fortified||1 cup||98 IU|
|Egg||1 egg yolk||20 IU|
|Liver, beef||3 1/2 ounces||15 IU|
|Cheese, Swiss||1 ounce||12 IU|
|Flintstones Complete Multiple vitamin and mineral supplement||1 chewable tablet||400 IU|
The food label shows calcium as a percentage of the daily adult recommended intake rather than in milligrams (mg). The % for calcium is based on 1000 mg, which is the recommended daily intake for adults. To figure out how many milligrams of calcium is in a serving, add a “0” to the Daily Value (DV), for example, 30% DV = 300 mg Calcium. (This trick only works with calcium).
This label shows that 1 cup of milk provides 300 mg of calcium.
Disclaimer:This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.