How Much Calcium Do My Children Need

In honor of May’s National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, The Dairy Alliance (formerly the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association) surveyed more than 1,000 parents in the Southeast to learn about their family’s milk, yogurt and cheese consumption habits to understand the most pervasive myths about dairy.

The survey revealed that more than half of respondents (52%) didn’t know that bone health as an adult can be directly linked to calcium intake as a child. Additional findings include:

  • Only 33% of parents were aware that drinking cows’ milk is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Price is the most influential factor for buying decisions in the Southeast
  • 94% of respondents purchase dairy foods, such as cheese, but also buy non-dairy milk
  • Parents believe protein, not calcium, is most important nutrient in their child’s diet

The Dairy Alliance also uncovered that most parents in the Southeast believe the following myths about milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy foods:

  • 53% of parents think non-dairy milks provide the same nutritional benefits for their family as cows’ milk
  • 55% of parents believe eggs are dairy
  • Nearly one third of respondents don’t know the nutritional breakdown in a glass of milk

“In this day of social media, it is often difficult to know the difference between inaccurate news and real, scientific-backed research. At The Dairy Alliance, our mission is to clear up these misconceptions and inform or remind our friends and neighbors that real dairy milk is an essential component to your family’s diet and an essential tool in fighting osteoporosis with our “Bone-Gevity: Bones Built To Last” campaign,” said Doug Ackerman, CEO, The Dairy Alliance.

In addition to bone-building calcium, just one eight-ounce serving of milk has eight grams of high-quality protein, which helps to build and repair muscle tissue. In fact, one serving of milk provides calcium, riboflavin, phosphorus, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, vitamin D, vitamin A and niacin. Considering foods, by comparison, one eight-ounce glass of milk contains the calcium of 38 cups of raw kale, protein of four large boiled eggs and vitamin D of 15 sardines. Researchers have also found that eating foods rich in calcium may offset a possible protein-calcium loss relationship, improving overall bone health.

National Osteoporosis Awareness Month was created to bring awareness to osteoporosis prevention, diagnostic testing and risk factors. According to the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General, an estimated 10 million Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis and another 43 million are at risk of getting this debilitating disease. Although osteoporosis is known for its later-in-life onset, it is considered a childhood disease with adult implications. Due to this, early healthy bone habits, such as enjoying dairy foods with meals, are integral for fortifying bones for life and guarding against fractures and brittle bones.

On May 1, The Dairy  Alliance will launch their month-long “Bone-Gevity: Bones Built to Last” campaign, which partners with sports nutritionists and dietitians to offer media interviews, free resources, recipes, and social media giveaways all month long. For more information, visit thedairyalliance.com. For recipes, facts and research search #bonegevity and #bonesbuilttolast on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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