Calcium is essential for good health. It plays an important role in bone and tooth development and in maintaining bone strength. It is also important in nerve transmission and muscle contraction. Lack of sufficient dietary calcium, or disease which reduce blood calcium, contribute to weak bones and teeth, tiredness and nervous disorders.
In most humans, bone mass should reach its maximum at the age of 35. According to a 1991 US study, a 5% increase in peak bone density among young adults could promise a 50% reduction in the risk of bone fractures in later life. Approximately 45% of the adult skeleton is built and enlarged during adolescence. In a 1991 study of 164 healthy children, US physicians discovered that those who consumed more than 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day had denser bones than those who consumed less. Additionally, 67% of girls aged 8-10 consumed a recommended 800 mg of daily calcium, and only 16% of girls aged 11-18 consumed a recommended 1,200 mg of daily calcium. In studies of 800 US university women, only one fourth consumed the daily recommended amounts.
Those who achieve maximum bone densities in their twenties, lower the risk of osteoporosis in later life. Insufficient calcium intake is one of the many nutritional problems facing western youth, despite medical warnings and availability of solutions.