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Calcium and Kids

From the start, toddlers have an increased need for dietary calcium to support the bone growth and skeletal development that takes place rapidly in the early years of life. This development - and the accompanying calcium need - continues into the teenage years and is particularly crucial for adolescent girls who need to stock their calcium supplies to prevent osteoporosis later in life. Adequate calcium intake at this stage is needed to support ongoing bone growth and to achieve peak bone mass.

Of the five food groups identified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid, the milk group is of key concern to growing children. Studies have shown that many children are not meeting the recommended minimum of two servings per day. Infants from one year to age three should get 500mg per day. Children ages four to ten should receive about 800mg per day; and children ages nine to eighteen should receive about 1,300mg per day.

Parents can help meet these requirements by serving live and active culture yogurt, which helps satisfy their kids' calcium needs and taste buds. In addition to being well tolerated by lactose-sensitive children, yogurt is high in protein, convenient, versatile and tasty.