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How much calcium should my child get?

Heather R. Mangieri
Nutrition & Dietetics

Getting adequate calcium is so important throughout the child and adolescent years. Children ages 1-3 need ~700 mg/day calcium, ages 4-8 need 1,000 mg/day and ages 9-18 need 1,300 mg/day. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich natural sources of calcium and are the major food contributors of this nutrient to people in the United States. Some kids friendly choices include: string cheese, yogurt, milk, grilled cheese, pudding and calcium-fortified orange juice. Other good sources include: kale, broccoli, tofu, sardines, cottage cheese and canned salmon. Be sure to select 3-4 serving per day to get an adequate intake.

Here are the Institute of Medicine recommendations on calcium intake to match the needs of most healthy children in each age group:
  • Children ages 1 - 3 -- 700 mg per day (about 2 one-cup servings of milk)
  • Children ages 4 - 8 -- 1000 mg per day (about 3 one-cup servings of milk)
  • Children ages 9 - 18 -- 1300 mg per day (about 4 one-cup servings of milk)
From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.
Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

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Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

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Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Calcium requirements vary by age. According to the National Institutes of Health, children between ages 1 and 3 require 700 milligrams of calcium/day; children 4-8 years of age require 1000 milligrams/day; and children 9-13 years of age require 1300 milligrams calcium/day. Calcium is best absorbed through food. The best sources of calcium come from milk, yogurt and cheese. An 8 ounce glass of milk contains 300 milligrams of calcium and yogurts will vary, so check the nutrition facts panel for a product to have at least 30% calcium (which is equivalent to 300 milligrams calcium).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.