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Teenagers Lack Calcium

Por Written by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter -
Teenagers Lack Calcium

A study finds that girls, especially girls from an African background, are low on this bone-building nutrient.

Teenage girls and young women, especially those coming from an African background, don't obtain enough calcium at a time in their lives when calcium is crucial to developing healthy bones according to a new U.S. study.

"From the beginning of adolescence to about 30 years of age, constitutes the most important period in which a sufficient amount of calcium is needed," explained Richard Forshee, leading author of the study and researcher from the University of Maryland's Center for Food, Nutrition and Agriculture Policy in College Park. "It's during this short period of time when bone density forms, and this is something that can help prevent osteoporosis in later years."

In the report that appears in the April edition of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Forshee's team analyzed national data from 1994 to 2002 in order to track changes in calcium intake. They found that calcium intake increased for most age/gender categories including adolescent females. Despite this increase, calcium intake among teenage girls and young women remained well below recommended levels.

The proper amount of calcium intake is 1,300 milligrams per day for females between the ages of 9 and 18 years. However, this study uncovered that the average intake for this age group was only 814 milligrams a day. This low calcium intake is especially serious among women coming from an African background, pointed out the authors of the study.

Milk consumption decreased among children between the ages of 6 and 11 years, but it stayed the same or increased in other age/gender categories.

"Changing one's diet and eating habits is very difficult. We need to develop strategies to include more calcium in our diets, especially among vulnerable groups such as young women," said Maureen Storey, co-author of the study and director of the center.

Article written by HealthDay


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