One of the children's growth that can be our reference is height. Usually parents will be happy if their children have a height that is more than their peers or at least the same as their peers. To achieve optimal height, children need to meet calcium needs to support bone growth. Calcium can be obtained from food, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Or, children can also get calcium from supplements. But, are calcium supplements really needed by children to support bone growth?
Where can we get calcium?
Calcium is needed by children to support the growth of bones and teeth, support nerve and muscle function, help blood clots, and help activate enzymes needed to convert nutrients into energy. Because of its very important function, calcium needs in children are also high. Based on the 2013 AKG, children aged 4-9 years need calcium by 1000 mg and children aged 10-18 need 1200 mg of calcium per day. The number is quite a lot right?
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Usually, children get this calcium intake from milk. In one glass of milk (250 ml) generally contains 300 mg of calcium. So, if the child drinks 3 glasses of milk a day, the child's calcium needs are sufficiently met. However, what if the child does not like milk? Children's calcium needs can be met from other calcium sources, such as:
- Soy milk
Do children need to be given calcium supplements?
So, do children really need calcium supplements? Actually children do not need calcium supplements because there are so many foods that can provide a source of calcium for children. If the child does not like milk, there are still many other choices to meet the child's calcium needs. Reviews of 19 studies have also concluded that children do not get much benefit from consuming calcium supplements and calcium-fortified foods.
However, if you think your child's calcium intake is very far from what is recommended, it would not hurt you to give calcium supplements to children. But, before making this decision, you should first consult with your doctor.
What is the danger if there is too much calcium intake?
Before deciding whether or not you are going to give calcium supplements to your child, you should consider well. Pay attention to your child's daily intake, does the child consume a lot of food sources that contain calcium?
If you have very little calcium intake, your child may need calcium supplements. However, if your child's calcium intake only meets a few needs, you should add more children's calcium intake from milk, cheese, yogurt, soy milk and others. Because if you add calcium supplements, it's worried that your child's calcium intake will be excessive.
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Excess calcium intake is not good for children's health. Excessive calcium supplements can inhibit iron absorption. In addition, too much calcium in the body can also cause constipation. Worse yet, consumption of excessive calcium supplements can increase the risk of children experiencing kidney stones.
How much maximum calcium can a child receive?
The Institute of Medicine recommends children aged 1-8 years get no more than 2500 mg of calcium per day. This number is equivalent to 8 glasses (250 ml each) of milk per day. Yes, it is impossible for children to consume this much milk, but it can. Moreover, if children also take calcium supplements.
Therefore, consider whether your child needs calcium supplements or not. If yes, also pay attention to how many doses of calcium supplements children need, also adjust to calcium intake from the foods that children usually get.
What influences calcium absorption in the body?
Even though your child has consumed a lot of foods that contain calcium, you should also pay attention to whether the child's body has absorbed calcium properly. Yes, sometimes what children eat cannot be fully absorbed by the body because there are several things that interfere with the absorption of these nutrients.
Other foods that children eat can interfere with calcium absorption in a child's body. For example, potato chips, soft drinks, hamburgers, pizza, and other junk food. Foods that contain high levels of sodium, fat, and phosphorus can cause reduced calcium absorption. So, if your child drinks a lot of milk and eats calcium sources, but also eats a lot of junk food, this can be a waste of time.
Besides there are foods that interfere with calcium absorption, there are also nutrients that can increase calcium absorption . Calcium absorption can be increased with the help of vitamin D. Children can get vitamin D intake from food and also from sunlight. Sunlight can help synthesis of vitamin D in the body. Thus, sun exposure that is acceptable to children every day can support children's growth. Many activities outside the home can help children get vitamin D from the sun and can also support the development of children's bones.
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