A new report in the journal Pediatrics stresses the importance of eating calcium-rich dairy foods to help reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life.

The report, released by the American Academy of Pediatrics calls for a three-pronged approach to help kids get the calcium they need.  Those three components are:

·       Parental role modeling.  Parents are the primary role model for kids to develop healthy eating habits. Parents can encourage kids to make healthful food choices by including three servings of low-fat dairy in their own diet daily.

·       Physical activity.  Good bone health requires both adequate calcium intake and weight-bearing physical activity. So even if you eat three servings of low-fat dairy each day, without weight bearing activity your bones don’t get the full benefit.

·       Calcium screening by doctors.  The report calls for doctors to screen patients for calcium intake and bone health three times during childhood. The first screening is recommended at 2 to 3 years of age; then again at 8 to 9 years of age and a third time during the early teen years when peak rate of bone mass growth occurs.

The report, “Optimizing bone health and calcium intakes of infants, children and adolescents” was released Monday in the latest issue of Pediatrics.

National Dairy Council, CBS2Chicago.com