Get Enough Calcium

The Basics
Get enough calcium every day to keep your bones strong. Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis (bone loss).

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Look for foods with added calcium, like breakfast cereal or orange juice.

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The Basics

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Your body needs calcium to build strong bones when you are young and to keep bones strong as you get older. Everyone needs calcium, but it's especially important for women and girls. Many people, including most women, don't get enough calcium.

How much calcium do I need every day?

Women:

Men:

Kids:

Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis (weak bones).

Osteoporosis (“os-tee-oh-puh-ROH-sis”) is a disease that makes your bones weak and more likely to break. Some people don’t know they have it until they break a bone.

One in 4 women and 1 in 20 men over the age of 65 in the U.S. have osteoporosis. Calcium helps to keep your bones strong and less likely to break.

How can I get enough calcium?

The best way to get enough calcium is to eat foods with calcium every day.

Calcium is in foods like:

For more ideas, check out this list of foods that are high in calcium.

Getting calcium from foods is best. But if you don’t eat enough foods with calcium, you can take a calcium supplement (pill) every day. You can take a multivitamin with calcium or a pill that has only calcium. Talk to your doctor before you start taking extra calcium.


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Protect your bones – get plenty of calcium every day.

Check food labels.

The Daily Value (DV) on a food label tells you the amount of a nutrient (like calcium) that’s in a serving of the food. Foods that have at least 20% DV of calcium are excellent choices. Foods with at least 10% DV of calcium are good, too.

For example:

Learn how to check food labels for calcium information. External Links Disclaimer Logo

Use this calcium shopping list to find foods high in calcium when you are at the grocery store.

If you take a calcium supplement, make it easy to remember.

Get enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb (take in) calcium. Find out how much vitamin D you need each day.

Your body makes vitamin D when you are out in the sun. You can also get vitamin D from:

Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin D pills.

Follow a healthy eating pattern.

Along with eating foods high in calcium, it’s important to follow a healthy eating pattern. That means eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and foods with protein.


Start Today: Small Steps

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