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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Ranganathan, Rajeshwari
item Nicklas, Theresa
item Yang, Su-jau
item Berenson, Gerald

Submitted to: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2004
Publication Date: 12/1/2004
Citation: Ranganathan, R., Nicklas, T., Yang, S., Berenson, G. 2004. Longitudinal changes in intake and food sources of calcium from childhood to young adulthood: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 23(4):341-350.

Interpretive Summary: The present study shows that calcium intakes are low during the period of dietary transition from early childhood to young adulthood, despite the increase in energy intakes. Furthermore, because of a considerable decrease in intake of total calcium from childhood to young adulthood, it is clear that despite the growing girth of America’s youth, there is a corresponding nutrient shortage among the generation. These findings argue strongly for the development of dietary guidance that not only addresses energy restriction, but also assists in selecting nutrient dense diets that support optimal growth and development in children and adults.

Technical Abstract: Objective is to examine changes in calcium intake and food sources of calcium from childhood to young adulthood in a longitudinal sample. Information on food and nutrient intake was derived from a single 24-hour dietary recall collected on children who participated in a cross-sectional survey at age 10 and again in young adulthood. A cohort of 237 young adults who participated in the 1989-1991 young adult survey (ages 19 to 28 years) also participated in one of three cross-sectional surveys from 1973 to 1978 at 10 years of age. Repeated measures analysis of variance was applied to examine the longitudinal changes in intake of calcium and food sources from childhood to young adulthood. Total calcium intake at age 10 was not significantly different than total calcium intake of those same individuals when they were young adults. Gender and ethnic differences were observed within the two age groups. In both childhood (age 10 years) and young adulthood, African-American females had significantly lower total calcium intake than Euro-American males. However, this ethnic difference in total calcium intake did not exist after adjusting for energy intake. Calcium intake per 1000 kcal was significantly lower in females than males at age 10, but not in young adulthood. A large percentage of 10-year-olds did not meet the RDA or AI for calcium intake (54% and 88%, respectively), and this was also shown when they were young adults (77% and 75%, respectively). More effective nutrition educational efforts are needed to emphasize the importance of adequate calcium intake and the major food sources of calcium, beginning early in childhood and continuing into young adulthood.

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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