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Are you getting enough calcium?

Osteoporosis is a disease associated with excessive bone loss, which can lead to fractures. It affects 24-million Americans _ mostly elderly white women _ and the number of victims is expected to double by 2020.

However, according to reports from a recent osteoporosis conference, the disease can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle adopted at an early age.

The first step is getting enough calcium, and the best way to do that is through diet, specifically by including low-fat dairy products on a daily basis.

Calcium-fortified orange juice can be a substitute for soft drinks, which don't contribute useful nutrients to the body. Add fizz by mixing with club soda.

These facts about osteoporosis are provided by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, which is a trade association of the nutritional supplement industry:

Studies indicate that adolescents need lots of calcium to build strong, healthy bones. Teen-age girls constantly on diets present a problem, but such low-fat foods as yogurt can be the answer, short of dietary supplements.

Post-menopausal women need additional calcium because the loss of bone mass accelerates most rapidly at the hip and spine during the first four to eight years following menopause because of reduced production of the hormone estrogen.

Most Americans fail to include adequate calcium in their diets.

To get about 1,000 mg of calcium in one day, you'd have to include these foods in your meals: 1 cup of lowfat milk (297 mg), 1 cup fresh cooked broccoli (177 mg), 1 ounce part-skim mozzarella (207 mg), 1 cup bok choy, raw (74 mg), 1 cup cottage cheese (155 mg) and 3 ounces of canned shrimp (98 mg).

For those who hate to drink milk straight, here are two recipes that include it in sauces.


3 tablespoons margarine

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 shredded carrot

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

\ cup flour

4 teaspoons chicken instant bouillon granules

3 cups lowfat milk

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

2 tablespoons chopped pimento

1 pound spaghetti, cooked, drained

Freshly grated Parmesan

In a medium saucepan, melt margarine. Saute green pepper, carrot, mushrooms and onion over high heat, stirring constantly, just until crisp-tender. Stir in flour and gradually stir in milk and bouillon granules. Cook and stir until bouillon dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Stir in chicken and pimiento. Heat through. Serve over spaghetti and top with grated Parmesan. Serves 6 to 8.

Carrots en Casserole

3 tablespoons margarine, divided

1{ cups corn flakes cereal, crushed to } cup

1 small onion, chopped

3 tablespoons flour

\ teaspoon salt

Grinding of black pepper

1{ cups milk

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded American cheese

4 cups sliced carrots, cooked and drained (1{ lbs.)

Freshly chopped parsley

Melt 2 teaspoons margarine and toss with the crushed cereal. Set aside for topping.

Melt remaining 2{ tablespoons margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and stir until softened. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in milk. Cook until bubbly, thick and smooth, except for the onion. Stir in cheese until melted. Remove from heat and stir in cooked carrots and parsley. Spread mixture in a greased 10- by 6-inch shallow glass baking dish. Sprinkle with cereal mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from oven. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8. Reheats well.