Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

Preschoolers’ Bone Health

  • 1-3 year-olds need 500 mg calcium and >400 IU vitamin D
  • 4-5 year-olds need 800 mg calcium and >400 IU vitamin D
  • The DV (Daily Value) for Calcium is 1000 mg – food labels indicate percentages.  A food with 30% DV for calcium contains 300 mg calcium per serving
  • Calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health, as are a variety of other nutrients including protein, magnesium, phosphorus and others
  • A well-balanced diet enables proper bone formation
  • Common foods preschoolers eat containing vitamin D are fortified milk & cereals, as well as certain types of eggs
  • Soymilk contains vitamin D2; cow’s milk contains vitamin D3
  • Vitamin D3 appears to be better utilized by our bodies
  • Our bodies can produce vitamin D with proper sun exposure (may be difficult in our area of the United States)
  • Many children & adults are vitamin D-deficient

Examples of foods containing calcium:

  • 1 cup of cow’s or fortified soy/rice milk ~ 300 mg
  • 1 cup calcium fortified OJ ~ 300 mg
  • 1.5 oz cheddar cheese ~ 300 mg
  • 1 cup lowfat plain yogurt ~ 350-400 mg
  • 1 cup raw spinach ~ 120 mg
  • ½ cup firm tofu ~ 200 mg
  • ½ cup instant pudding made with 2% milk ~ 150 mg
  • Fortified grains – check the label







5 comments on “Preschoolers’ Bone Health

  1. Jimmy
    October 13, 2010

    What are the natural sources for calcium other than milk? I’m lactose intolerant.

  2. Jimmy
    October 13, 2010

    What are the other natural sources of calcium? My preschooler is lactose intolerant. Thanks, Jimmy


  3. Jimmy
    October 14, 2010

    Is it advisable to give preschoolers calcium supplements? My son is three years old.


    • juliewhittingtonrd
      October 21, 2010

      It is not usually advisable to give young children calcium supplements.
      Try the ideas I listed, as well as soy milk and soy yogurt.
      A balanced diet for young children and toddlers should include enough calcium without the need for supplements.

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