Dairy Council Northern Ireland

Milk it for all it's worth


Dairy through life


During the teenage years requirements for many nutrients, including calcium, are increased. The table below shows the amount of calcium required by adolescents, as well as suggested ways dairy foods can help to meet teenagers’ needs:


11–18 years Male 

Calcium needs mg/d 1,000

Portion suggestion providing about 1,002g of calcium

  • 250ml semi–skimmed milk
  • 250g pot of low–fat yogurt
  • 45g of cheese

11–18 years Female

Calcium needs mg/d 800

Portion suggestion providing about 842g of calcium

  • 200ml semi–skimmed milk
  • 200g pot of low–fat yogurt
  • 30g of cheese


The benefits of dairy products for adolescents

  • During adolescence (from eleven years of age onwards) requirements for many nutrients, including calcium, are increased
  • Adolescence is a particularly important period for the development of lifelong bone health
  • The reason for the increased calcium need during this time is that adolescents will experience rapid growth as bones begin to grow in length and strengthen. It is estimated that almost 90% of a person’s bone strength will have been achieved by the age of 18, highlighting the importance of adopting a balanced diet, including calcium–rich foods in the lead up to adulthood
  • Unfortunately, many teenagers, particularly girls, are short of calcium. The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey* reported that 22% of 11– to 18–year–olds are not getting the calcium they need. Some teenage boys (12%) are also missing out
  • Dairy products can be an important means of providing this age group with nutrients such as calcium which they need to support development and growth
  • They will also contribute towards meeting other increased nutrient requirements. Cheese, for example, provides protein which is also needed for normal bone growth and development, and milk can help towards meeting increased needs for vitamins such as vitamin B2 and vitamin B12
  • A diet which provides the nutrients required for good bone health during adolescence can be one factor for determining bone health later in life.

Why not check out the recipe section to find some tasty ways to get your calcium requirements?

For more on the nutrients in milk and dairy click here

  1. (1) National Diet and Nutrition Survey. National Diet and Nutrition Survey Results from Years 7 and 8 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2014/2015 – 2015/2016). Public Health England and Food Standards Agency, 2018.

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From the farm to the fridge, the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland acts on behalf of the dairy industry, advertising and promoting the natural goodness and quality of Northern Ireland milk and dairy products.

Our primary function is to communicate factual information to allow individuals to make well informed choices about dairy products that they consume and to inform them of the benefits of including dairy products in a balanced diet. We use a wide range of media, which includes television, radio, press, magazine, posters and the internet. Our Advertising is complemented by public relations and promotional activities designed to communicate with specific groups.

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T+44 (0)28 7034 3265

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