Does Your Lactose Intolerant Child Get Enough Calcium?

If your child gets a stomachache after eating dairy, it could be a sign she is lactose intolerant. This means she has trouble digesting lactose, a sugar found in milk. But you can still make sure she gets enough calcium for her growing bones. Serve cheese, which doesn’t contain lactose, or lactose-free milk, which you can find in the dairy section at the supermarket. Or simply give her a Lactaid supplement before she eats dairy products. Available at drugstores, the supplement breaks down lactose so it can be easily digested. There are also plenty of good nondairy calcium sources, such as fortified orange juice, cereals and soy beverages, as well as spinach and other dark leafy greens. All kids (and adults) should eat three to four servings of calcium-rich foods each day. Don’t resort to supplements unless you absolutely have to; your body absorbs the mineral better from food. Finally, make sure your child gets a good dose of physical activity each day. Exercise increases the amount of calcium the bones take in.

About the Author

Judith Rodriguez, Ph.D is a professor of nutrition and chair of the department of nutrition and dietetics at the University of North Florida, where she has also served as chairperson of the department of public health and director of the undergraduate program in dietetics and the master of science in health nutrition and dietetic internship programs. Rodriguez is a graduate of New York University, where she earned a master's degree in nutrition and higher education. She holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Rutgers University.


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