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Nebraska Department of Education
Nutrition Services
301 Centennial Mall South
PO Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509-9487

(800) 731-2233 (Nebraska Only)
or (402) 471-2488
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Child & Adult Care Food Program

Child Caring Online - information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Strong bones - make them yours for life

Most people think of bone as a hard, permanent substance that will always be there. However, if you have ever broken a bone, you may realize that the bones are something that we don't want to take for granted. We need to be caring for them on a daily basis.

Bones are not permanent structures, but instead are living tissue that constantly undergo remodeling. The remodeling is an alternating process of removing old bone and forming of new bone. In healthy tissue, bone-removing cells carve out cavities in the bone's surface, while cells that form bone fill in these cavities.

Foods that will help meet calcium needs

During the first three decades of life, more bone is formed than is lost for men and women. However, sometime in the early 30s, a person's bone density begins to shift to the loss column. This bone loss continues and is a natural part of the aging process. By age 70 or 80, women will have lost about a third to a half of their bone mass. By comparison, men lose about 20% to 30%.

A calcium-rich diet won't prevent all bone loss, but it will help slow down the rate of bone loss, even during the later years of life. The following chart will give you an idea of how much calcium you can aim for on a daily basis.

AGE GROUP OPTIMAL DAILY INTAKE OF CALCIUM
Birth - 6 months 400 mg
6 months - 1 year 600 mg
1 - 5 years 800 mg
6 - 10 years 800 - 1200 mg
11 - 24 years 1200 - 1500 mg
MEN  
26 - 65 years 1000 mg
Over 65 years 1500 mg
WOMEN  
25 - 50 years 1000 mg
Over 50 years (on estrogen) 1000 mg
Over 50 years (not on estrogen) 1500 mg
Over 65 years 1500 mg
Pregnant/nursing 1200 - 1500 mg

NUTRITION SERVICESCACFP  > CHILD CARING ONLINE > ADULT NUTRITION > STRONG BONES