Every place has their weird laws, just like how having more than 50 kgs of potatoes in an offense in Western Australia. Well, apparently in Utah, where I was born, it is illegal not to drink milk. This sucks if you’re lactose intolerant but, hey, they’re just thinking of your well being.
Calcium is easy enough to get in your daily diet. The best sources tend to be dairy foods (yoghurt, cheese, milk) as well as tofu and canned fish. 2-3 servings of any of these a day should take care of you. Don’t forget, you need enough vitamin D in your system or you won’t get any benefits from your calcium intake because vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium. Luckily, most of the same foods that give calcium, also give vitamin D.
If your body does not get enough calcium, or cannot absorb enough, your body starts to take it from your bones. This can lead to osteoporosis, which is a condition of decreased bone density. This usually happens in later in life, but not exclusively. As osteoporosis doesn’t really have symptoms other than decreased bone density, it can be years before it’s even detected at all. Decreased bone density leads to weaker bones which makes fractures and broken bones much more likely, specifically in the spine, wrist, and hips. These breaks, or a lucky routine X-ray, are about the only way to find out you could have osteoporosis.
After diagnosis, taking care of osteoporosis is essentially preventing fractures and breaks. You may be given a supplement or medication to help strengthen your bones or aid calcium intake, but boosting your calcium in your natural diet is probably your best option.
So, while my American home-state may be a little kooky, at least they’re trying to prevent people from getting weak bones. Good luck to those lactose intolerant people though; eat some fish and tofu.