This Clinical Report was retired October 2012.
Most older children and adolescents in the United States currently do not achieve the recommended intake of calcium. Maintaining adequate calcium intake during childhood and adolescence is necessary for the development of peak bone mass, which may be important in reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life. Optimal calcium intake is especially relevant during adolescence, when most bone mineral accretion occurs. Because of the influence of the family's diet on the diet of children and adolescents, adequate calcium intake by all members of the family is important. Assessment of calcium intake can be performed in the physician's office. A well-rounded diet including low-fat dairy products, fruits, and vegetables and appropriate physical activity are important for achieving good bone health. Establishing these practices in childhood is important so that they will be followed throughout the life span.