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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;82(5):1115-26; quiz 1147-8.

Effects of calcium, dairy product, and vitamin D supplementation on bone mass accrual and body composition in 10-12-y-old girls: a 2-y randomized trial.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.



Little is known about the relative effectiveness of calcium supplementation from food or pills with or without vitamin D supplementation for bone mass accrual during the rapid growth period.


The purpose was to examine the effects of both food-based and pill supplements of calcium and vitamin D on bone mass and body composition in girls aged 10-12 y.


This placebo-controlled intervention trial randomly assigned 195 healthy girls at Tanner stage I-II, aged 10-12 y, with dietary calcium intakes <900 mg/d to 1 of 4 groups: calcium (1000 mg) + vitamin D3 (200 IU), calcium (1000 mg), cheese (1000 mg calcium), and placebo. Primary outcomes were bone indexes of the hip, spine, and whole body by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and of the radius and tibia by peripheral quantitative computed tomography.


With the use of intention-to-treat or efficacy analysis, calcium supplementation with cheese resulted in a higher percentage change in cortical thickness of the tibia than did placebo, calcium, or calcium + vitamin D treatment (P = 0.01, 0.038, and 0.004, respectively) and in higher whole-body bone mineral density than did placebo treatment (P = 0.044) when compliance was >50%. With the use of a hierarchical linear model with random effects to control for growth velocity, these differences disappeared.


Increasing calcium intake by consuming cheese appears to be more beneficial for cortical bone mass accrual than the consumption of tablets containing a similar amount of calcium. Diverse patterns of growth velocity may mask the efficacy of supplementation in a short-term trial of children transiting through puberty.

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