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It is never too early to begin taking steps to ensure healthy bones. In many cases, bone problems do not begin to develop until after the age of 35, but steps taken in youth can go a long way toward preventing or lessening the severity of bone conditions that develop with age. One of the biggest risks to healthy bones is a condition called osteoporosis, which describes bone thinning and weakening. Most medical research seems to suggest that the best way to combat osteoporosis and ensure bone health is by making sure that calcium is a part of everyday nutrition. If calcium requirements are not met in diets, it may be necessary to include calcium as a dietary supplement.
According to research, children under the age of 10 are more likely to be deficient in calcium than almost any other nutrient. Calcium requirements for children in this age group may vary depending on their speed of growth, and their diets. In many cases, children who eat a lot of protein may require more calcium as well. Most nutritionists recommend children in this age group receive about 500 mg to 800 mg per day.
Between the ages of 10 and 20, the daily requirement of calcium jumps to around 1,800 mg per day. This is about the equivalent of the calcium benefit of drinking three 8 ounce (227 gram) glasses of milk per day. For females in this age group who are just beginning to menstruate, it is important that the menstrual flow is regular; otherwise, this too could lead to problems with retaining calcium. If menstruation is frequently irregular, it may be necessary to consult a doctor.
After the age of 20, in most cases, bones are no longer growing, but they may continue to strengthen. For most people, the peak of bone density is reached somewhere between the ages of 20 and 35 years of age. In other words, this is as healthy as bones will likely ever be, so developing healthy bones during these years is essential to carry a person through the duration of life. Around 1,000 mg of calcium is recommended as the dietary requirement for people within this age group.
In most cases after the age of 35, through the rest of the life span, 1,000 mg of calcium is needed each day. In instances of severe loss of bone density, doctors sometimes recommend higher intakes of calcium or may prescribe medication to help prevent bone loss. To help maintain diets that include calcium and promote healthy bones, it is important to consume plenty of dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables. Exercises such as walking or jogging are also believed to strengthen bones.
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