Why is calcium in the diet so important?
Calcium was identified as a key nutrient of concern in the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey with 60% of children aged 9-16 yrs not meeting the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) for Calcium in Australia.
Our bodies cannot make calcium so we need to consume it in the diet. Calcium is required for the normal development and maintenance of the skeleton. It is stored in the teeth and bones where it provides structure and strength.
Along with the rest of their body, children’s bones are growing rapidly throughout this period of their life. It is critical they receive enough daily calcium to ensure their bones achieve optimal bone density, paramount for supporting healthy bones in later life. This is because as we age our ability to add bone mass decreases. If you didn’t build strong bones whilst you were young you could be in trouble in the golden years.
Calcium is therefore a key nutrient kids can’t afford to miss.
How much calcium do children need?
An eating pattern that includes a variety of foods from across the food groups will provide children with the range of nutrients and fuel they need to build healthy bodies. Dairy foods are best known for calcium and the role they play in building strong bones. The Dietary Guidelines for Australians specifically recommend that milk, yoghurt or cheese be included in our daily diet because of their readily available dietary calcium.1 Few other foods provide the body with as much calcium per serve as dairy foods.
3 serves of dairy foods each day will provide most children with their daily calcium needs, yet research shows only 1 in 5 kids have the recommended 3 serves of dairy every day.2
A serve = 1 glass/small carton plain/flavoured milk (250mL), 2 slices or 4 cubes of cheese (40g), or 1 small tub yoghurt (200g). 3
If you are choosing alternative milk sources such as soy or rice milk, make sure it is calcium fortified. Canned fish with bones (which need to be eaten) and calcium set tofu are also good alternative non dairy sources. Calcium is also found in a range of other foods including green leafy vegetables, almonds and legumes, but in smaller amounts than dairy. You need to also include greater quantities of these types of foods however as the calcium in some is not as well absorbed.
How does MILO Boost the calcium of milk by 70%?
As MILO contains calcium, you can get more calcium for the same amount of milk by adding MILO!
A 200ml glass of milk contains 214mg of Calcium*. Adding a standard 20g serve of MILO which contains 160mg calcium, to a 200ml glass of milk, increases the calcium content of the total drink to 374mg .
And a glass of MILO and milk delivers nearly 50% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for calcium.
Research supports MILO can increase milk consumption and help increase kid’s calcium intake.
Active Play and Calcium, for strong bones
Daily physical activity plays an important role in supporting children’s healthy growth and development. Combined with adequate calcium intake they are considered two central factors to influence children’s bone mass development. Research shows the benefits of regular physical activity on bone development may be best realised when it is combined with an adequate daily calcium intake and that the combination of calcium and physical activity may be more beneficial for improving bone mineral density than either alone.4,5
So, to provide the best opportunity for kid’s to develop strong bones, adequate daily calcium intake and active play are best done together.
MILO The Official Drink of Play
Active play is a fun way to ensure your kids are physically active, and get plenty of running, hopping and jumping – all great for healthy bone development. When it comes to Calcium, milk is a great source. And because MILO also contains calcium, by adding MILO to your glass of milk, you can boost its calcium content by 70%!* In addition to this MILO and milk is a nutrient rich, low GI option – great for fuelling active fun.
So to help support healthy bones, get the kids out to play every day and give them a glass of MILO and milk.
* NUTTAB 2010
- Australian Dietry Guidlines for children and adolescents 2003, NHMRC
- Secondary analysis of the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, CSIRO, 2009.
- For further information check out Dairy Australia www.dairyaustralia.com.au/kidsneed3
- Specker B, Binkley T 2003, Randomised trial of physical activity and calcium supplementation on bone mineral content in 3- to 5-year-old children, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 18(5): 885-982.
- Iuliano-Burns S et al 2003, Regional specificity of exercise and calcium during skeletal growth in girls: a randomised controlled trial, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 18(1): 156-162