Why is calcium important for children?
Our bodies can’t make calcium so we need to get it from what we eat and drink. One thing our bodies need calcium for is the normal development and maintenance of the skeleton. It’s stored in the teeth and bones where it provides structure and strength. Ensuring that children and adolescents get enough calcium while their bones are still growing is critical because it has long-term benefits.
Bone mass increases by about sevenfold from birth to puberty and a further threefold during the short period of adolescence. It then remains stable until menopause in women (and at around age 50 in men), after which time bone mass starts to decrease.
If, by the end of adolescence, you don’t have a high enough bone mass, you have no further opportunity to build more. As a result, when you start to lose bone mass later in life you may reach the point where problems can occur many years sooner than if you had had a high peak bone mass in your late teens.
So building strong bones during childhood and adolescence helps to ensure better bone strength throughout adulthood and into old age.