Calcium in a College Student's Diet

Uploaded by famsciEIU on 06.07.2010

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Hi. My name is Carolyn McCabe.
I'm a dietetics graduate student at Eastern Illinois University.
Today I'm going to be talking about the importance of calcium
in the college student's diet.
There are several reasons why calcium intake is so important.
Calcium helps develop strong bones, helps cells function, and
contributes to proper blood clotting.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, with 99%
found in the bones and teeth and the remaining 1% found in the
blood and soft tissue where it serves many vital roles.
Inadequate calcium intake in childhood and early adulthood
can lead to osteoporosis later in life.
Millions of Americans suffer from osteoporosis, and this
causes bones to be very weak and brittle and can lead to
fractures in the hips, spine, and wrists.
Another factor for osteoporosis is inadequate vitamin D intake.
And this is because vitamin D is required for adequate calcium
absorbtion, and it also helps to build and maintain bone mass.
Calcium absorption is the highest during the college
years, so it's very important to achieve proper bone mass.
And since bone mineral reabsorbtion and breakdown
begins at age 25, it's very important to get adequate
calcium during this time.
Adults over the age of 19 are recommended to get
approximately 1000 milligrams of calcium every day.
And this can be easily reached by consuming the recommended
three servings of dairy or dairy alternatives every day.
Many college students avoid dairy products due to the fear
of gaining weight because of the association between
high fat and dairy products.
However, there are many fat-free and reduced-fat dairy products
such as yougurt or reduced-fat milk that are widely
available in grocery stores.
The content of important nutrients in dairy products
are virtually the same regardless of the fat
content, therefore you can still get all the
important nutrients, including calcium, without all
the fat and added calories.
Lactose intolerance is another barrier to
calcium and dairy intake.
Choosing alternatives such as soy milk or lactose-free yogurt
can provide all the same health benefits.
And there's also lactase enzyme pills which you take before
consuming dairy, and they avoid some of the effects
of lactose intolerance.
Some tips for reaching healthy recommendations in overall bone
health include being physically active for 30 to 60 minutes
every day, and this helps to achieve peak bone mass and can
also reduce stress, enhance your energy level, and
improve your sleep.
Also limit your soda consumption.
Soda often contains citric and phosphoric acid, both of which
can decrease calcium absorbtion.
So instead choose calcium fortified orange juice or
low-fat milk as a healthy alternative.
And next, spend some time in the sun.
Fifteen minutes of sunlight per day will give your body all the
vitamin D it needs to be able to allow calcium to be absorbed and
function in all of its vital roles.
And finally, be creative when choosing calcium-rich
snacks--things such as string cheese or yogurt--and also for
an alternative to dairy, choose calcium fortified cereal
such as this one or almonds.
Spinach, broccoli, salmon, and tofu are also non-dairy foods
that contain high amounts of calcium.
And beans are also a good source, so adding beans such as
these to tacos or soups is a great way to meet
your recommended needs.
So to sum things up, calcium is vital in a college student's
diet to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.
It's important to consume the recommended three servings of
dairy every day, which can easily be done by drinking
reduced-fat or fat-free milk and adding cheese and yogurt
to your daily diet.
Non-dairy sources such as spinach, beans, and calcium,
fortified juices and cereals can also be added to increase
your calcium intake.
For helpful tips and information go to, where you can find
important facts, quizzes, and recipes to incorporate
dairy into your diet.
Also visit to find all the food group
recommendations and tips for achieving a
healthy balanced diet.
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