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J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Feb;23(1):18-33.

Associations of adequate intake of calcium with diet, beverage consumption, and demographic characteristics among children and adolescents.

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  • 1Center for Food and Nutrition Policy, Virginia Tech, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, USA.



The objective of this study is to examine various factors associated with total calcium intake and percent adequate intake (% AI) of calcium by children and adolescents, with respect to age, gender, race/ethnicity, and diet and beverage choices.


Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals 1994-96, 98 were used in the analyses. Age groupings (2-3, 4-8, 9-13, and 14-18 year olds) were based on the National Academy of Sciences recommendations for AI of calcium-500, 800, 1,300, and 1,300 mg calcium per day, respectively.


Consumption of milk products was strongly and positively associated with calcium intake. Consumption of carbonated soft drinks and other non-dairy beverages was also positively associated with calcium intake, but this association was very weak. Beverage choices of African-American children and adolescents are significantly different than white and Hispanic children and adolescents. For example, African-American adolescent girls consume fewer milk products and more fruit drinks/ades. Average daily carbonated soft drink consumption is approximately 1.6 and 1.0 twelve ounce cans among 14-18 year old boys and girls, respectively.


Carbonated soft drink consumption among adolescent girls is modest and does not appear to be linked to decreased calcium intake. The analyses in this paper show that creative effective, efficient, and targeted policies should be considered to help adolescent girls increase calcium intake. Making low-fat milk products, flavored milks, calcium-fortified beverages and foods more attractive and available will help encourage girls to consume more of this important mineral. When adequate calcium intake is not achieved through foods, health professionals should consider recommending calcium supplements.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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