The Got Milk? ad is spreading like wild fire – and for good reason.

Is your child as strong as you think?

Here’s an eye opener: health care providers are reporting a shocking rise of bone fracture incidents in children. According to pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Laura Tosi (Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.), more and more children are becoming fragile, with hand, arm and elbow fractures being the most common complaints. A research done by the Mayo Clinic (Minnesota) has discovered that the number of forearm fractures in girls has risen to 56 percent, and in boys, 32%. The likely culprit: not enough calcium.

Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Duane Alexander, revealed that calcium is one of the top problems in nutritional deficiency among American kids. More than 50 percent of teenage boys and girls do not reach 1,300 milligram, the recommended daily amount of calcium. This is about four 8oz glasses of milk.

In today’s world, milk is being replaced by all sorts of other beverages. A high percentage of young kids and teenagers are exposed to different kinds of foods, beverages and substances that work against strong bone formation: junk food, soda, alcoholic beverages, and cigarettes. There is scientific evidence that shows how these substances block the absorption of calcium in the body.

Why Milk

Why is milk an infant’s first food, and why is it considered one of nature’s most complete foods? The calcium content in milk is highly concentrated, making it easier to penetrate the body’s cells. Milk is also an excellent source of protein, potassium and magnesium, all of which work together in building a strong skeleton and a healthy set of teeth.

If not now, when?

Calcium is a critical contributor to bone development, but its work stops when one reaches 20 years of age. After 20, an individual slowly experiences bone loss and deterioration. Therefore, it is crucial to build a foundation as early as infancy and childhood. Of not, no amount of calcium in your adult life can make up for what calcium deficiency in your formative years.

Build Better Bones with every Bite

When it comes to calcium, the first thing that most parents could think of giving their children is milk. Studies have shown that milk is one of the foods which contain the highest amount of calcium, but there are also other types of foods which are good sources of the nutrient as well, and these are:

  • Cheddar cheese, American cheese, and orange juice (fortified with calcium) which contains at least 300 milligrams of the recommended daily calcium needs
  • Yogurt and tofu which contains 225 up to 260 milligrams of calcium
  • White beans, collard greens, and soft-serve ice cream containing up to 178 milligrams of calcium
  • Cottage cheese, cooked rhubarb, bok choy, and almonds which have at least 80 milligrams of calcium
  • Red beans and cooked broccoli which have about 40 milligrams of calcium

It is essential for children to get the right amount of recommended calcium daily for healthy and strong bones. For children who are not getting the right amount of calcium and Vitamin D that they need, giving calcium and vitamin supplements can be an option, provided that it is recommended by the doctor.

Get D to activate the C

Even when you feed your child with calcium, its absorption is improved when your child’s body can produce adequate amounts of Vitamin D. It is so rare that you would find foods brimming with this vitamin – that’s because the best source of vitamin D isn’t food – it’s the sun.

That’s right. While calcium works from within, sunlight activates the production of vitamin D, which boosts calcium absorption. These two work hand and hand, and it makes a lot of sense: Kids are supposed to run around and play in the morning sunlight for good measure.

So, nourish your child with milk and calcium – rich foods and the sun will do the rest in helping little ones build stronger bones that are ready for just about anything in life.

Skinny Mom Fact: There are about 300 mg of calcium in an 8-ounce glass of milk or calcium-fortified orange juice.