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Milk and Strong Bones

Published: December 3, 2002
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Does milk really make your bones strong?
Signed: Milk and Strong Bones

Dear Milk and Strong Bones,

 

Great question! The short answer is - yes. Milk and other dairy products are rich in calcium, a mineral that is key to healthy bone development. The body actually builds 75 percent of the skeleton during adolescence - supporting the skeleton with healthful habits now so it can support you later in life is really important.

How exactly does calcium help you build strong bones? To lengthen long bones during growth, the body builds a scaffold of protein and fills this in with calcium-rich mineral. From the time you're 11 until you're 24, you need about 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day to get the job done. That means at least 4.5 serving of milk, cheese or yogurt daily. Adolescent bodies have a higher capacity to absorb and retain calcium, making them especially efficient at bone building.

 

Bone also needs vitamin D to move calcium from the intestine to the bloodstream and into bone. In addition to being full of calcium, nearly all U.S. milk has vitamins D and A added as well.

 

For more information on how to maintain a healthy diet, check out our answer on  Eating Healthy - and remember, drink your milk!

 

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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