Getting enough calcium
As low calcium intakes tend to silently affect our bones for many years, it’s important we continually keep a close watch on our diet to make sure we get enough throughout life. This is particularly important during childhood and the teenage years – the more calcium that’s deposited in the bones during this stage in life, the stronger bones will be in later life.
As a general guideline, a typical serving of dairy – a 200ml of milk, 30g of hard cheese or a 150g pot of yogurt – provides around a third of the calcium adults need in a day. This means having three servings of dairy a day will help most of us get close to, or even reach, our daily calcium needs.
Teenagers, especially teenage boys, have higher calcium needs to support rapidly growing bones, so four daily servings of dairy will bring them closer to meeting their needs. Those who can’t have dairy should ensure they have enough calcium in their diet from other sources, and should consult their doctor or dietitian in order to ensure they have a healthy and well balanced diet.
As a guideline, calcium recommendations are set at 800mg a day. To find out more specific needs for different ages, see Calcium needs throughout life.