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Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1361-6.

Americans are not meeting current calcium recommendations.

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Program on Prevention Outcomes and Practices, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 94305, USA.



Recent research has raised doubts about the efficacy of calcium supplementation in preventing fractures; however, adequate calcium intake remains important.


Using data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we assessed dietary and supplemental calcium consumption among US men and women according to risk of osteoporosis and stratified by sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.


We categorized risk of osteoporosis as high (having an osteoporosis diagnosis or treatment), moderate (aged >50 y), or low (aged 19-50 y). Main study outcomes included milligrams of dietary and supplemental calcium intake, likelihood of meeting national calcium adequate intake (AI) levels, and likelihood of taking supplemental calcium.


Mean (95% CI) total calcium consumption was 944 (846, 1043) mg in the high-risk group, 821 (788, 854) mg in the moderate-risk group, and 846 (812, 871) mg in the low-risk group. Overall, 40% of the sample met the calcium AI amount and 48% reported taking supplemental calcium. After adjustment for daily caloric intake, the greater likelihood of meeting calcium AI levels was associated with [odds ratio (95% CI)] low [versus moderate, 1.5 (1.2, 1.7)] and high [versus moderate, 1.9 (1.3, 2.6)] osteoporosis risk, female sex [1.6 (1.3, 1.8)], non-Hispanic white ethnicity [versus nonwhite, 1.9 (1.7, 2.3)], and education beyond high school [versus less than high school, 1.5 (1.2, 1.9)]. These same factors were also associated with an increased likelihood of taking supplemental calcium, except for a consistent increase with higher osteoporosis risk.


Many Americans--particularly men, ethnic minorities, and the socially disadvantaged--are not meeting the current recommendations for adequate calcium intake through diet alone or with supplements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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