Studies show that fewer than one in 10 girls and only one in four boys ages 9 to 13 are at or above their adequate intake of calcium. Unfortunately, these age groups correspond to the time when bones are growing most rapidly—specifically between ages 11 and 15. Lack of calcium during this prime time for bone growth may put children and teens at risk for weaker bones and increased fractures now and for osteoporosis later in life.
"Most people think that adults have the highest calcium needs," said Dr. Duane Alexander, NICHD Director. "But adolescence is actually the critical time for getting enough calcium to build bones that will last a lifetime."
To help raise awareness about the prime time for bone growth and the heightened need for calcium during that time, the NICHD's Milk Matters calcium education campaign has partnered with the AAOS for the Academy's annual print public service announcement (PSA) campaign. Print PSAs like the one shown above were distributed to more than 6,000 media outlets to highlight the importance of calcium and weight-bearing activity during the tween years (ages nine to 11) and the teen years for building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis. The PSAs, available in English and Spanish, are appearing in national newspapers, magazines, and professional journals and are featured in airports around the country.
The NICHD and AAOS have partnered on bone health issues before. In the late 1990s, the two organizations paired to produce the Bone up on bone loss! Exercise to build healthy bones! fact sheet. The piece explains how weight-bearing physical activities help to strengthen bones and what types of activities are weight-bearing. This popular fact sheet is being revised to reflect the latest scientific research on bone health.
For more information, check out the following resources:
Originally Posted: August 3, 2007
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