Calcium is a mineral in food that is needed for healthy bones and

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					             Stepping Up to a Healthy Lifestyle
                          Calcium for Fitness

After this session, youth ages 12-17 will recognize the importance of calcium for bone
health. They will try to eat 3 or more foods high in calcium each day.

    Copy the “Calcium for Fitness” Tips & Tasks sheet for each participant.
   Parent Connection handout from Strong Bones lesson also covers calcium topics.
   Bring two small blankets or large towels and two empty gallon milk jugs for
    icebreaker (optional).
   Bring in 5 to 7 containers (they can be empty) of high calcium foods: cheese, milk,
    yogurt, canned salmon, sardines, dark green leafy vegetables like collard greens
    and kale, calcium fortified orange juice.
   Review the “Are You Label Able?” section in “The Power of Choice”.
   Review the MyPyramid information about the milk group:
   Look at the USDA Food Guide recommendations for calorie levels of your learners.
   Optional- Prepare the Calcium and Physical Activity Build A Strong Body display.
    Handouts and recipes are available with the display.
   Copy the evaluation at the end of the lesson for each participant.

      START UP
    Icebreaker: have each person introduce themselves and name one calcium rich
    food they’ve eaten today. If they haven’t eaten a calcium rich food yet, what’s one
    they could eat between now and bedtime? Ask them to name a calcium rich food
    that they like best and why.
Calcium – teens                                                             page 2

          Alternate icebreaker: Milk Jug Volleyball. Divide the group into two teams. Have
           each team spread out around each blanket and have kids grab the edges to hold
           the blanket taut. Practice bouncing the milk jug on the blanket. To start the game,
           have the teams stand about 5 feet apart. Have them bounce the milk jug back and
           forth from blanket to blanket. Each time the milk jug is passed successfully, have
           the teams take one additional step apart. See how far apart they can get. This is a
           cooperative game; it won’t work until the kids figure out how they can work together
           to toss the milk jug to the other blanket.
          Discuss last week’s Tips & Tasks sheets.

           WHAT TO SAY

       Calcium is a mineral in food that is needed for healthy bones and teeth, and normal
       muscle function. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure. It decreases the risk of
       insulin resistance syndrome. (Insulin resistance syndrome leads to diabetes and
       cardiovascular disease.) In addition to being our skeletal framework, bones are an
       emergency supply of calcium for the rest of our body. If we don’t get enough calcium,
       it comes out of our bones. Over time, if our body takes enough of the calcium out of
       our bones to use for other things, bones can become weak and break easily. This is
       called osteoporosis.

       Do you know anyone, probably an older person, who has broken a hip? That may
       have been caused by weak bones.

       We can think of calcium like money in the bank. When we’re young, if we get enough
       calcium, our bones will store it and stay strong – like having money in the bank. If we
       stop getting enough calcium as adults, our bodies start taking it out of our bones to
       use for other things – like using up our savings. When this happens over time, we get
       osteoporosis – like going into debt. But like money in the bank, it’s never too late to
       make a deposit, pay off your debt, and start saving for a rainy day!

       Osteoporosis is thought of as a disease of older adults, but what we eat and do now
       affects our chance of developing osteoporosis later. Eating enough calcium and being
       active are the two best ways to keep our bones strong. Make your bones strong now
       to protect them later!

       Over half of Americans don’t get enough calcium. Milk and other dairy products are
       the easiest sources of calcium. Lactose intolerant individuals or those who just don’t
       like milk, can choose alternatives within the milk group, like yogurt or cheese. These
       can be eaten alone or in pasta, burritos, or other combination food. Some other foods
       also provide calcium.
Calcium – teens                                                              page 3

       Other tricks for adding calcium to our diets:
           Use yogurt dip for fruit and vegetables
           Eat soups that are made with milk
           Add sliced cheese to sandwiches
           Drink yogurt smoothies
           Eat breakfast cereals that are fortified with calcium
           Drink juices with added calcium

       Your daily calcium goal is 1300 mg or 3 or more cups of calcium rich foods. One cup
       of low-fat milk contains 300 mg of calcium. One cup of low-fat milk is equivalent to 1-
       1/2 ounces of low-fat/fat-free natural cheese, or 2 ounces of low-fat/fat-free processed

          WHAT TO DO
     1. Introduce participants to food label information through the “Are You Label Able?”
        lesson in “The Power of Choice.”

       2. Using the food containers you brought, have a volunteer arrange them in order of
          the amount of calcium per serving without looking at the label. Then have another
          volunteer read the label and rearrange as necessary.

       3. Explain the Daily Value (DV) percentages on the Nutrition Facts for calcium: 20%
          or more DV is high, rich, or excellent; 10-19% of DV contains calcium, provides
          calcium, or is a good source. Remember the calcium recommendation for teens is
          1300 mg. Since that is more than the DV (DV=1000), eating 100% of the DV is a
          modest goal. Discuss how eating 3 cups of milk or equivalents each day helps us
          get close to the DV.

     1. Use Nutrition Facts labels on high calcium foods, and milk group foods that are not
        rich sources of calcium. Have a volunteer choose one. Figure out together how
        many servings of that food would be needed to get the daily requirement of
        calcium. Discuss which foods are truly high calcium (20% or more of the DV) and
        which are “just ok” sources of calcium (10-19% of DV). Ask a volunteer to combine
        servings of several foods to come up with 1200 mg of calcium.

       2. Talk about easy ways to add more high-calcium foods every day. Address lactose
          intolerance by discussing alternative products like milk, yogurt, soymilks, and ice
          creams that are lactose-free, or consuming lactase prior to milk products.
Calcium – teens                                                                                           page 4

                  ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
         UW-Extension bulletin series: Getting Enough Calcium
                     o Bone Up on Calcium! (B3707-1)
                     o Preventing Osteoporosis (B3707-2)
                     o What Is Lactose Intolerance? (B3707-3)

         Food and Drug Administration’s educational tool, “Guidance on How to Understand
         and Use the Nutrition Fact Panel on Food Labels”

         “Milk Matters” NIH campaign for tweens and teens:

This lesson was adapted from Eating Better & Moving More: A Guidebook for Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs, developed by Nancy
Wellman, Barbara Friedberg, Dian Weddle, Leon Cuervo, Neva Kirk-Sanchez, and Barbara Smith of the National Policy & Resource Center
on Nutrition & Aging, Florida International University, 2003.
                                         Stepping Up to a Healthy Lifestyle
                                                     Calcium for Fitness

Tips & Tasks
The easiest way to get calcium is from dairy                      Try to get the amount of calcium in 3 or more cups
products: milk, yogurt, cheese, and foods made                    of low-fat milk each day.
with them.
                                                                  Try some foods that have the same calcium as 1
                                                                  cup of milk:
If dairy is a problem, try lactose
free products, calcium fortified                                           1 cup Yogurt
soymilk, or calcium fortified                                              2 ounces Sardines
orange juice. Consuming lactase                                            1 cup Calcium-fortified orange juice
before milk products may help.                                             1-1/2 ounces Swiss cheese
                                                                           1 cup Spinach or Collard greens
                                                                           ½ cup Ricotta cheese
                                                                           1 cup Calcium fortified soy milk

                                     Check off each high-calcium food you eat each day.

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       High-calcium      High-calcium    High-calcium    High-calcium   High-calcium      High-calcium     High-calcium
          foods             foods           foods           foods          foods             foods            foods