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Calcium Intake

Calcium Intake

Even people who easily digest dairy products probably aren’t getting the calcium they need.

On average, American adults get about 600 milligrams of calcium a day from their diets. That’s not nearly enough. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say teens need about 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day. Young men and women need about 1,000 milligrams a day. Older men and women need even more – about 1,500 milligrams a day. To give you an idea of how much calcium that is, a glass of milk contains only about 300 milligrams of calcium.

Because most people don’t get enough calcium, they’re at increased risk for osteoporosis, or a weakening of the bones. Nearly half of all women and about 13 percent of all men will suffer a bone fracture because of osteoporosis during their lifetime.

Although calcium intake is one of the most important factors in bone strength, there are other ways to strengthen – or weaken – bone. Good nutrition and weight-bearing exercise help strengthen bone. Smoking and alcohol use may weaken bone, as do diets that are too high in salt or protein.

UT Southwestern doctors say you should check with your doctor to see if calcium supplements could benefit you.

SOURCE: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

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