know nearly 9 out of 10 teenage girls and almost 7 out of 10 teenage boys
don't get enough calcium in their daily diets? Building strong bones is
critical during the teen and young adult years, because that's when bone
grows to its strongest and densest point.
Bones are made up of mostly calcium, so lots of calcium is needed for
fast-growing teenage bones. According to the National Academy of Sciences,
young people ages 9-18 need 1,300 mgs of calcium every day. If you don't
get enough calcium during these years, you're at risk of severe health
problems, like fractures now and osteoporosis later. But a high-calcium
balanced diet, weight-bearing exercise, and healthy habits can help you
prevent osteoporosis later on and keep you feeling and looking your best.
1300 mgs of calcium sounds like a lot, but it's not that hard to get the
calcium you need from what you eat. You probably won't need a supplement
if you're smart. A cup of milk with each meal and one at the end of the
day, plus the calcium found in a regular balanced diet is enough. Lowfat
milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. Get creative
and try a variety of high-calcium foods like beans and broccoli, and calcium-fortified
foods cereal or tofu. Choose your favorite foods that are high in calcium,
such as low-fat chocolate milk, fortified juices, frozen yogurt, beans,
cheese pizza, and yogurt smoothies. For more information on Calcium-Rich
Foods, call 602-470-8086 for taped information then press 2153.
Teens who guzzle carbonated soft drinks may damage their bone health for
years to come. Recent studies have found that teens who drink soda are
more likely to have bone fractures. It may be because phosphates in soda
damage bones, or just that teens are replacing milk with non-nutritious
soft drinks. Grabbing a can of soda is tempting, but more nutritious choices
always pay off in health and good looks.
Some young people try to be very thin, but this can mean your body is
not getting the nutrients it needs this could cause permanent damage to
your bones, heart, and brain. Talk to your doctor or school nurse before
dieting or not eating.
Weight-bearing exercise is also needed for building healthy bones and
great bodies. Don't be a couch potato! Bones need exercise just like muscles.
Sports like soccer, basketball, tennis, or hiking are great ways to give
your bones and whole body a workout. But remember, too much exercise isn't
good either. Talk to your parents or coach if you work out too much, and
for girls, if you stop having your period.
Teens have a great opportunity to build bone for strong, healthy, independent
lives. So make healthy choices avoid dieting, eat balanced nutritious
meals, get plenty of exercise, and don't smoke or drink alcohol you'll
improve your bone health while keeping your good looks. Make a commitment
to a bright future: be a Bone Builder!