Home/How Calcium Help Prevent Stunting

Calcium is known to be a vital player in the development of a child by supplementing essential factors to bone development making it healthy to support the child’s growth. Lack of calcium intake may lead to brittle bones making them susceptible to breaking, especially with children being hyperactive engaging in physical activities. More than the short term consequences of calcium deficiency, it may also be a factor in the irreversible and permanent effect of stunted growth. Calcium is also an important nutrient ensuring that the muscles and nerves works properly. It also helps in the release of various hormones and enzymes that aids the regulation of body functions.

How much calcium does your child need?

AGE GROUP RECOMMENDED CALCIUM INTAKE
0-5 months 200mg
6-11 months 400mg
1-2 years old 500mg
3-5 years old 550mg

Source: Philippine Dietary Reference Index

In the 2018 National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, calcium intake of babies and children 0 – 5 years old reached an average of 0.44g or 440mg. The data given showed that as the child grows, the calcium intake also decreases. This may be caused by lack of intake of food that are good sources of calcium or lacking of intake of quality and complete meals.

What are good sources of Calcium?

In the dietary survey conducted by FNRI in 2015, consumption of rice and rice products contributes the most in the calcium intake of Filipinos, followed by fish and fish products, vegetables, and milk products.

For babies, it is recommended to supply their daily calcium needs from exclusive breastfeeding (up to 6 months) and introduction of complementary feeding of calcium-rich weaning meals such as cereals (which are usually fortified with calcium) and vegetables.

For children, continuous feeding of milk is recommended with proper introduction of whole foods such as broccoli, citrus fruits, malunggay and other green leafy vegetables. Other dairy products are also recommended to be given such as cheese, yogurt, or even ice cream.

How can I ensure that my child meets his/her daily calcium needs?

Make sure to serve balanced meals and go for food that are rich in calcium like green leafy vegetables. Try to come up with dishes that will make leafy vegetables palatable to your kids. A fun and innovative way of adding calcium is using AJI SAVOR™ Rice Topping Mix. Just sprinkle AJI SAVOR™ On Rice and pair it with their favorite ulam Pinoy recipes.

You can also try these 4 easy-to-cook recipes with 4 easy-to-find ingredients made with just 4 steps:

References:

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (2013). 8th National Nutrition Survey. Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute. DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (2018). FNRI Facts and Figures: Dietary Survey. Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute. DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (2015). Philippine Dietary Reference Index (PDRI). Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute. DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (1997). Philippine Food Composition Tables.  Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute. DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

Angeles-Agdeppa, I., Denney, L., Toledo, M. B., Obligar, V. A., Jacquier, E. F., Carriquiry, A. L., & Capanzana, M. C. (2019). Inadequate Nutrient Intakes of Filipino Schoolchildren and Adolescents are Common among Those from Rural Areas and Poor Families. Food and Nutrition Research, Vol 63. https://doi.org/10.29219/fnr.v63.3435

ChristianJosephBaluyot_AjinomotoCulinaryNutritionist

Christian Joseph S. Baluyot, RND is AJINOMOTO PHILIPPINES CORPORATION’s Junior Specialist for Culinary Nutrition. He develops recipe, conducts nutrition research and provides nutrition information as a licensed nutritionist-dietitian. Jhay graduated at the Manila Tytana Colleges with a Bachelor’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition with Culinary Arts. 

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