Meeting calcium needs for children

(Video uploaded 03/2018)


Titleļ¼šMeeting calcium needs for children

Children grow extraordinarily fast. They need a balanced nutrition, especially adequate calcium to support their bone growth.

Toddlers aged one to three need 500 to 600 milligrams of calcium every day. Children aged four to six require 800 milligrams of calcium daily.

Milk is a good source of calcium for children. An intake of 360 to 480 millilitres of milk coupled with a balanced diet provides sufficient calcium they need every day.

In order to prevent children from drinking too much milk and losing their appetite for meals, parents can offer their children, about 120 millimetres of milk, three or four times a day.

Children can have yoghurt or cheese instead of milk. A slice of cheese or a half a tub of yoghurt contains about 150 milligrams of calcium, which is comparable to 120 millilitres of milk.

Besides dairy products, children can have calcium-fortified soy milk, firm tofu and dark green vegetables as additional calcium rich food sources.

Very often, toddlers tend to drink less milk when they first switch to drinking from a cup after the age of one. We can give them cheese and yoghurt as supplementary sources of calcium.

Toddlers being breastfed need to take cheese, yoghurt, and cow's milk to get adequate calcium too.

When choosing milk or dairy products for children, we have some tips for parents:

If your child has meat, fish and vegetables in his diet regularly, you can offer him cow's milk in place of formula milk.

Full-fat cow's milk is a better choice for one-year-olds. For children aged two or above, low-fat dairy products or calcium-fortified soy milk is preferred.

As for yoghurt, pick low-sugar ones. Plain yoghurt is the best.

Apart from diet, children need physical activities and sufficient vitamin D for their bones to grow healthily.

Parents should take their children to play outdoors, such as running, hopping, playing with balls, and get more exposure to sunlight. Parents, let's make physical activity a habit for ourselves and our children!

To learn more, please visit the website of the Family Health Service, Department of Health