Calcium

How much calcium does my child need?

This depends on your child’s health.  Children with different medical conditions may require different doses.

The average daily requirements are:

 

Daily Calcium Requirements
Age Daily Calcium (mg)
0-6 months 210
6-12 months 270
1-3 Years 500
4-8 Years 800
9-18 Years 1300

 

Children from age 9-18 years require more calcium in their diet then at any other stage in their life. The calcium they take in during those years is crucial for bone formation and the prevention of osteoporosis.

Vitamin D is also critical for bone formation in addition to many other functions. Recent studies have shown that most children lack adequate vitamin D in their diet. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children (infants through adolescence) obtain 400 U of vitamin D daily.

How do I get my child more calcium?

You may give your child foods and drinks with calcium. You may also use multi-vitamins with calcium or calcium supplements.

What foods provide calcium and vitamin D?

Vitamin D is found in fortified foods, eggs and milk.

Calcium in foods is listed below (each amount contains 300mg of calcium):

 

Foods containing calcium
8 ounces of milk 1 cup yogurt 7 ounces OJ with calcium
2 cups cottage cheese
1.5 cups ice cream

6 oranges
2 ounces processed cheese 1-1.5 cups frozen yogurt 3 cups cooked broccoli
1.5 ounces natural cheese 1 cup pudding 4 ounces canned salmon with bones
1 cup macaroni and cheese 6 corn tortillas  

 

What do calcium supplements or multi-vitamins provide?

Each label lists the amount of elemental calcium found in one dose. This is the amount of calcium that is absorbed by the body. Calcium comes in a few forms (e.g. calcium carbonate or calcium citrate). Multi-vitamins and some supplements have other things add like vitamin D, magnesium or phosphorus. If your child has underlying medical conditions (especially kidney problems), please discuss with your doctor about your vitamin choice.

What do I need to know about giving my child calcium?

Do not take more than 500mg calcium per dose.

Take with food or following a meal.

Drink 8 ounces of water with the supplement to allow the best absorption by the body.

Be sure your child gets enough vitamin D.

Calcium absorption can be affected by medications – ask your doctor if you have any questions.

How much calcium and vitamin D are in multi-vitamins and supplements?

This is a partial list. Always check the product label for ingredient information.

 

Amount of calcium and vitamin D in multi-vitamins and supplements
Vitamin Calcium/dose Vitamin D/dose
Bugs Bunny Complete 100 mg 400 U
Centrum Kids Extra Calcium 200 mg 400 U
Flintstones Complete 100 mg 400 U
Flintstones Gummies with Calcium & Vitamin D 100 mg 400 U
Flintstones PLUS Calcium 200 mg 400 U
Tums (regular strength) 200 mg None
Tums Ultra 400 mg None
Tums Kids 300 mg None
Viactiv 500 mg 100 U
Viactiv Calcium Flavor Glides 500 mg 200 U
Viactiv Multi-vitamin 200 mg 400 U
Viactiv Multi-vitamin Flavor Glides 200 mg 400 U

 

Additional information:

Drugstore - overview of multi-vitamin and supplement information

Family Food Zone - discusses healthy eating

Why Milk? - recipes with a milk base

 

This handout was adapted from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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