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Calcium for Kids

Nothing compares to a tall, cold glass of milk. With 15 essential nutrients, milk is the best source for the calcium and vitamin D kids need. Canada’s Food Guide recommends 2 to 4 servings of milk and milk products every day.Dietitians agree – for growing kids and teens alike, nothing’s better than milk. Cheese and most yogurt products also provide calcium but not as much vitamin D as fluid milk, which has vitamin D added. Vitamin D is important because it works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. girl drinking milk

Why milk matters so much

By the end of adolescence, 90% to 95% of a child’s total bone density is already built from the calcium and vitamin D they’ve consumed. That means that kids can’t make up later for these key nutrients they get from dairy products like milk if they miss out on them when young. It’s critical that they drink enough milk while they’re growing. After they reach peak bone mass between 19 and 30 years of age, the milk they drink works mostly to provide calcium and other bone-building nutrients to maintain the bone they already have. “Chocolate milk has all the same great nutrients as white milk – and kids love it. Over half of all moms say their kids drink more milk because of it.” Milk glass on blue background

Are kids getting enough?

What’s surprising is that 3 out of 4 kids aren’t drinking milk at lunch, and almost half aren’t drinking milk with any meal*. Instead, kids are choosing nutrient-poor drinks (like cola or sugary fruit juice) instead of milk 59% of the time.* In fact, one in 5 children aged 4 to 16 drink one can of pop every day.* Other beverages don’t deliver the essential calcium and vitamin D that milk does. Teens are at the greatest risk of not meeting their calcium needs because their milk consumption generally declines while their calcium requirements are at their highest.

Surprising news about chocolate milk

girl eating apple To add or not to add chocolate to their milk? Many parents are understandably concerned about their kids getting too much sugar. However, given the less nutritious (and much sweeter) choices that tempt kids today, chocolate milk can be a great ally. Yes, it tastes great – but chocolate milk also has all the nutritional goodness of plain milk. That’s because chocolate milk (made, for example, with NESQUIK) has all of the same great nutrients as white milk – and kids love it. Over half of all moms say their kids drink more milk because of it*. Sources: Nestlé Rainbow Health Monitor. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride (1997) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Kids and Their Bones: A Guide for Parents [accessed from Medline Plus Dec 2006]