Submitted to: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2003
Publication Date: 12/1/2003
Citation: Nicklas, T. 2003. Calcium intake trends and health consequences from childhood through adulthood. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 22(5):340-356. Interpretive Summary: An Interpretive Summary Not Required
Technical Abstract: Issues involving low calcium intake and dairy product consumption are currently the focus of much debate and discussion at both the scientific and lay community levels. In this review, we examine the following major issues of interest: (1) the current status of calcium intake levels and the nutritional impact of dairy products in children's diets in relation to the current Adequate Intake (AI) recommendations; (2) the impact of school meal participation and plate waste on calcium intake and dairy product consumption; (3) the impact of competitive foods and beverages on calcium and dairy product consumption; (4) concerns related to calcium-fortified foods and beverages; and (5) factors influencing milk consumption. To date, the findings indicate that calcium intakes of children have increased over time yet intakes are not meeting the current AI calcium recommendations; dairy consumption has decreased and soft drink consumption, and possibly, consumption of calcium-fortified products have increased; consumption of dairy products have a positive nutritional impact on diets of children, particularly from school meals (despite a high percentage of milk waste); milk is an economical source of nutrients in children's diets compared to other school meal components served; competitive foods and beverages offered in schools are gaining in popularity and usually consist of less-nutrient dense foods; thus, more-nutrient-dense food and beverage options need to be made available; and, there are many factors which influence milk consumption, all of which need to be considered in our efforts to promote adequate calcium intakes by children. Based on this review, areas that need immediate attention and future research imperatives are summarized in an effort to further our understanding on "what we already know" and "what we need to know" to promote healthier eating habits early in life.