Should Young Females Take Calcium Supplements?

I read that young females should be on a calcium supplement to prevent osteoporosis. My 16-year-old daughter takes a multivitamin, but should she take a medium dose of calcium?

We are learning so much more about the relationship between osteoporosis late in life and building healthy bones early in life.

This is the ideal time for your daughter to begin good habits that may eventually reduce her risk of osteoporosis, such as weight-bearing exercise, watching her calcium intake and being a nonsmoker. But it is not easy to persuade teenagers, especially those in perfect health, to think about something that may or may not happen 60 years from now.

Your daughter should have about 1,300 milligrams of calcium each day. The best place to get calcium and all our nutrients is from food. Perhaps instead of milk, she will eat yogurt, which is very rich in calcium.

If she won’t eat dairy, there are many other calcium-rich foods, such as salmon, soybeans, tofu, beans, nuts, broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables. Another option is calcium-enriched beverages, such as orange juice or soy milk.

With all these choices, your daughter should be able to meet that suggested intake each day. But if you assess her diet and feel she is not getting enough calcium, then you might consider a supplement to round out that 1,300 mg.

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