Make a lifelong investment in your bones

As part of the journey of life-long health, it’s important to take care of your bones by consuming enough nutrients.

It’s never too early to make a lifelong investment, not in money, but in your bones. As we place deposits into a bank account, we can consider our bodies a bone bank. The earlier and more deposits we make the better the chance of having a bone account to last a lifetime.

Although it’s never too late to make sure you reach your daily recommendation of dairy, it’s something best invested in early in life. During the childhood and teen years, new bone forms at a faster rate until peek bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) is reached, around age 30. The growing years are the best time to grow and strengthen bones. Bones that receive needed calcium are more likely to retain their mass.

After age of 35, it’s more about maintaining your bone account balance. Loss of bone density and strength begins as we age. The body will borrow calcium from bones, or withdraw from your bone bank.

Consuming dairy is important, but so is physical activity, particularly that which is weight bearing, forcing muscles to work against gravity. Examples of weight bearing physical activities are walking, running, basketball, soccer and dancing.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one serving of dairy is equal to 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, 2 ounces of processed cheese or 1 cup of soymilk. ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends the following:

Daily recommended serving of dairy

Children

2-3 years old

2 cups

4-8 years old

2 ½ cups

Girls

9-13 years old

3 cups

14-18 years old

3 cups

Boys

9-13 years old

3 cups

14-18 years old

3 cups

Women

19-30 years old

3 cups

31-50 years old

3 cups

51+ years old

3 cups

Men

19-30 years old

3 cups

31-50 years old

3 cups

51+ years old

3 cups

For more helpful information on what counts as sources of dairy and calcium, and how to portion it, visit these webpages:

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