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Choices to Support Good Health

Today, consumers have an abundance of beverage and food choices in a range of calories and sizes so that they may choose what is right for them. Given the fact that individual health is influenced by myriad, highly personal factors, these choices should remain ours alone.

Diet and exercise play an important role in maintaining strong, healthy bones. For this, calcium intake is critical. Unfortunately, many young people are not consuming the recommended amount of calcium.

How much calcium do adolescents need? The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences recommends people ages 9 to 18 years old take in 1300 milligrams each day.

The good news? A wide variety of calcium and Vitamin D fortified products available in the marketplace today provide healthy options for boosting calcium consumption. In addition, beverage companies also produce an array of milk-based products, which help consumers meet their calcium needs. These choices can help all people - including adolescents -- achieve the recommended daily dosage of bone-fortifying calcium.

Soft Drink Consumption Doesn’t Harm Bone Health

While some critics have speculated that soft drink consumption may harm bone health, these claims have been disproved by science. For example, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s Center for Food and Nutrition Policy published a study confirming that soft drink consumption does not displace calcium in adolescent diets. This position has also been reinforced by research conducted by Georgetown University and Michigan State University.

Ingredients in soft drinks, such as caffeine and phosphorous, have also been criticized with regard to their impact on bone health. However, further scientific inquiry has demonstrated that these ingredients are not harmful. For instance, there is a very small amount of phosphorous in soft drinks – an amount that does not uniquely cause weak or brittle bones. In fact, there is more phosphorous in chicken, cheddar cheese and milk than in soft drinks.

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