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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 May;57(5):674-80.

Dietary calcium intake in premenopausal Bangladeshi women: do socio-economic or physiological factors play a role?

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Division of Nutrition, Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.



Evaluation of data on dietary calcium intake in premenopausal women of two socio-economic groups in Bangladesh.


A cross sectional study. Three days dietary records were used to estimate habitual calcium intake.


Two regions of Bangladesh. The Dhaka city area and the Betagair Union in the sub-district Nandail, Mymensingh.


A total of 191 subjects of two groups (low socio-economic group=group L, n=101 and high socio-economic group=group H, n=90) of Bangladeshi women aged 16-40 y. About 87% of the subjects were housewives and the rest 13% were distributed in other different professions. Each group consisted of three sub-groups (non-pregnant non-lactating=1, pregnant=2 and lactating=3).


: The influence of socio-economic status on dietary intake of calcium (P<0.001) was observed in this study. The dietary intake of calcium was influenced by physiological status (PS) in high income group only (P<0.005). The mean dietary calcium intake was significantly higher (P&<0.005) in all sub-groups of this group compared with the corresponding sub-groups in low income group. Although in group H, 47% of subjects failed to meet even the lowest level (400-500 mg/day) of WHO recommended dietary allowances (RDA) of calcium for adult women. No subject in group L was found to meet the RDA level. Moreover, 63% of the women in group L had calcium intake lower than 200 mg/day. These figure could be more critical in both groups if we consider the recent USA-RDAs of calcium for adult women (1000 mg/day). The observed sources of dietary calcium were different in the two groups.


The results of the study suggested that low calcium intake could reduce the bone accretion rates and increase the risk of osteoporosis in the subjects of the present study. Calcium rich food may be recommended for women in both groups.

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