Children’s Bone Health

Calcium is essential for strong bones, and it is vital during childhood, when bones are actively growing. During childhood, the amount of calcium deposited in the bones increases as the bones lengthen. At this critical stage of development, the body not only needs a great deal of calcium, but it also absorbs the calcium more effectively than any other time of life. For this reason, young children need to “bank” extra calcium for bone health.

Some of the most common sources of calcium are from dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Other sources include calcium-fortified soy milk and juices, canned salmon (with bones) and sardines, and dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and kale.

For calcium to be effective in bone growth and development, it is also important that your child get enough vitamin D. This can be done through careful sun exposure and eating vitamin D-rich foods such as fortified milk and milk products, cod liver oil, red meat, eggs, mushrooms and some fatty fish.

Supplement Guidelines

Sometimes, your child’s doctor may recommend a calcium or vitamin D supplement. The following are supplement guidelines from CHOC orthopaedic specialist Dr. Samuel Rosenfeld:

Age 7 and younger
Calcium intake: 500 mg per day
Vitamin D3 intake: 500 IUs per day
Recommendations: Citracel or L’il Critters Calcium + D3 gummies: 1 tablet, twice daily

Ages 8-13
Calcium intake: 1000 mg per day
Vitamin D3 intake: 1000 IUs per day
Recommendations: Citracel or L’il Critters Calcium + D3 gummies: 2 tablets, twice daily

Age 14 and older
Calcium intake: 1200 mg per dayVitamin D3 intake: 4000 IUs per day
Recommendations: Kirkland Signature Vitamin D3 (2000 IUs): 1 tablet, twice daily and one of the following:

  • Citracel Calcium Citrate +D3 Maximum: 2 tablets, twice daily
  • Citracel Calcium Citrate + D3 Petites: 3 tablets, twice daily
  • Citracel or L’il Critters Calcium + D3 gummies: 2-3 tablets, twice daily

These instructions are general guidelines and should be used for informational purposes only, not medical advice. Specific instructions for your child may differ. Please follow instructions provided by your child’s physician.

Teens and Bone Health

CHOC orthopaedic specialist Dr. Afshin Aminian explains the importance of calcium and exercise during the teenage years.