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Volume I
November 22, 2000

Preventing Osteoporosis in Your Kids--

Many minerals, especially calcium, take center stage in the promotion of bone health. Aside from bone building, calcium is used in many other vital functions in the body. When the diet is short on calcium, the body steals it from the bones to keep you alive, but at the expense of weakening the bones. That's why a wholesome diet rich in calcium is important. It provides the body with enough calcium to take care of vital functions as well as strengthening the bones. So back to what you can do: If you are responsible for feeding children, are you providing them with a balanced, wholesome diet? Perhaps you don't feed children. Maybe you teach them. Talk with teens about their diets. Ask them if they are getting the nutrients they need to make their bones strong. Remember that the best teacher is EXAMPLE. How does your diet measure up? Look to the menus at the end of this article to compare.

Another fundamental in getting bones to be all that they can be is weight-bearing exercise. Exercise that is weight-bearing does not include sitting on the couch after school, watching TV, while lifting a schoolbook from a backpack. Nope! Swimming, bicycling, jumping on a tramp, or parachuting from an airplane (though all great heart-starters) don't stress the bones enough to strengthen them, either. Putting your weight on your bones is weight-bearing, such as in jogging, walking, aerobics, sports, and weight-lifting. Encourage adolescents to be active, not only in exercises that are good for the heart, but also in those weight-bearing activities that are good for the bones. Hey, exercise with them! Now, there's an idea!!

Lastly, nicotine and alcohol reek havoc for bones that are trying to grow strong. Isn't it ironic that these substances are pushed on kids exactly at the point when bone health matters the most? Encourage and teach kids about the effects these addictions will have on their bone health (among other things). If they are concerned about their height, talk to them about "melting" when they are 50 because of the choices they make now.

You are a key player in preventing Osteoporosis. Health messages can't reach every child, but a parent, relative, teacher, or mentor can! To empower you in your quest for bone health, a list of calcium-rich foods and a wholesome menu sample follow.

Amount of Calcium in Selected Foods

3 oz canned sardines with bones (324 mg)
1 cup milk (302 mg)
1 cup yogurt (302 mg)
1 oz Romano cheese (301 mg)
1 cup buttermilk (267 mg)
1 oz Swiss cheese (267 mg)
1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice (240 mg)
3 oz canned Salmon with bones (204 mg)
1 oz Cheddar cheese (204 mg)
Muenster cheese (203 mg)
Turnip greens (198 mg)
1/2 cup raw tofu (130 mg)
1 cup raw oysters (111 mg)
1 Tbls. Shedd's Spread Country Crock Plus Calcium (100 mg)
1 cup cooked broccoli (72 mg)
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (67 mg)
1 cup canned kidney beans (62 mg)
1 cup raw, shredded cabbage (32 mg)
1/2 cantaloupe (29 mg)
1 slice whole wheat bread (25 mg)
1 medium apple (10 mg)

Meeting the Calcium Needs of Adolescents (1300 mg)
(Find the analyzed recipes in Cook'n 2000)

(Hint: 4 servings daily from the FGP Dairy group provides adequate calcium for this age group!)

1 cup Yogurt Fruit Shake (489 mg Ca)
1 Whole Wheat Toast (20.3 mg cal)
1 tsp Shedd's Spread Country Crock Plus Calcium (33.3 mg)

Mid-Morning Snack:
1 oz. Low -fat Skim String Cheese (183.1 mg)

1 Turkey Sandwich (50 mg)
(2 sl Whole Wheat Bread, 1 sl. Turkey, Lettuce, Tomato, Alfalfa Sprouts, Mayo, Mustard)
5 Baby Carrots (12 mg)
1/4 cup Ranch Dressing (81.4 mg)
1 cup Milk (300.1)

Afternoon Snack:
Apple (10 mg)

Sweet-n-Sour Pork (negligible)
1 cup brown rice (19.6 mg)
1/2 cup steamed broccoli (21.1 mg)

1 cup Lucious Lemon Ice Cream (157 mg)

Total Calcium: 1367 mg

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