That is correct, the National Health and Medical Council (NHMRC) Nutrient Reference Values state that teenage girls and boys aged 12-18 years require 1300mg of calcium per day. It is important that this is met each day as the body requires this quantity for daily functioning and storage. If this requirement is not met, the body will use its calcium stores (take calcium from the bones) for daily processing. Teenage girls require 3 and a half serves of dairy everyday. A serve of dairy equates to: 250mL low fat milk (~250mg calcium) or 200g low fat yoghurt (~300mg calcium) or 1/2 cup low fat custard or 1/2 cup ricotta cheese or 40g (2 slices) low fat hard cheese (~450mg calcium). Calcium is also found in other foods including salmon (with bones), almonds, green leafy vegetables and a smaller amount in beans. Staying active is important as bone strength depends on weight bearing exercise e.g. walking, jogging, tennis or dancing. Calcium absorption is also maximised by Vitamin D which can be obtained from sunlight. Depending which part of Australia you live in, approximately 10 minutes a day is all you need for adequate Vitamin D. A high caffeine and/or salt intake may cause calcium to be lost from the body in urine and decrease absorption. Visit http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/calcium.htm if you require more information. Kimberley Davis www.goodnutritionforlife.com.au
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