Paediatric Nutrition

supporting wellbeing with nutrition education

good sources of calcium

Infants and children need good sources of calcium in their diets on a daily basis. Calcium absorption in the gut is variable and ranges from 25-50%, increasing when intake is low and reducing when intake is high. Plenty of foods rich in calcium are especially important throughout infancy to support the rapid bone growth and bone mineralisation that occurs at this time. The uptake of calcium by bones is then regulated by Vitamin D, with Vitamin D deficiency limiting bone mineralisation even in the presence of adequate calcium.  Growth spurts during infancy and childhood, from a surge in growth hormone provides a boost to calcium absorption, which further strengthens bone mineralisation. Absorption of calcium from breast milk is very efficient at around 66% and from formula milk around 40%.   For all infants and young children offer them calcium rich foods every day.

  • Dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt are the UK’s best sources of calcium for infants and young children
  • Calcium is also found in tinned fish, nut butters, tahini or sesame seed pulp, hummus, figs, dates, and green vegetables
  • White wheat flour is fortified in the UK with 120mg Calcium per 100g
  • Water in areas of hard water like Cambridge contains 120mg calcium per litre
  • For all children with cow’s milk allergy, take care to offer calcium enriched products, checking sources of other valuable nutrients such as protein, iodine, Vitamin D as well as overall calories
  • Prolonged poor calcium intake will lead to brittle bones that break more easily, both in childhood and in later adulthood
  • Exercise and weight bearing activity will also strengthen bone
  • Have a quick check on recommended intakes to check if your child is getting enough calcium
  • Download the portions of calcium rich foods below
  • Infants and young children need a Vitamin D supplement containing a minimum of 10ug daily until 5 years and thereafter for a minimum of the 6 Winter/Spring months to maintain good levels

Recommended Intakes

  • Daily calcium needs during infancy are 525mg 
  • 5-600mls formula provides the majority of calcium during infancy
  • Breast fed infants depend on mum’s diet, and a calcium and vitamin D is advisable for mum
  • Daily calcium needs during early years are 350-450mg; provided by 3-4 portions of calcium rich foods
  • Daily calcium needs during primary school are 450-700mg; provided by 4-5 portions of calcium rich foods
  • For all children with cow’s milk allergy, take care to offer calcium enriched products, checking sources of other valuable nutrients such as protein, iodine, Vitamin D as well as overall calories.

 

1 Comment

  1. izzy

    great blog ! very helpful

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