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Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Nov;96(5):1042-50. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.037481. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

The effect of prepubertal calcium carbonate supplementation on the age of peak height velocity in Gambian adolescents.

Author information

1
Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge, United Kingdom. ann.prentice@mrc-hnr.cam.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Limited evidence suggests that calcium intake before puberty influences adolescent height growth and the timing of puberty. Such an effect might be particularly marked in populations in whom low calcium intake, stunting, and delayed puberty are common.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective was to test whether 12 mo of calcium supplementation at age 8-12 y to increase intakes toward international recommendations had long-term effects on adolescent growth and pubertal development in rural Gambian children.

DESIGN:

This was a longitudinal study of 160 Gambian boys (n = 80) and girls (n = 80) who had participated in a 12-mo, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, calcium carbonate supplementation trial (1000 mg Ca/d, 5 d/wk) at age 8-12 y. Anthropometric measures were made every 1-2 y until age 21-25 y; pubertal status and menarche data were collected. Repeated-measures ANCOVA and Superimposition by Translation and Rotation Method (SITAR) growth models were used to assess the effects of treatment.

RESULTS:

In boys, midadolescent height growth was advanced in the calcium group, which resulted in greater stature at a mean age of 15.5 y (mean ± SEM: 2.0 ± 0.8 cm; P = 0.01) and an earlier age of peak height velocity by 7.4 ± 2.9 mo. Subsequently, the calcium group stopped growing earlier (P = 0.02) and was 3.5 ± 1.1 cm shorter (P = 0.002) at a mean age of 23.5 y. Weight and midupper arm circumference paralleled height. No significant effects were observed in girls, but a sex-by-supplement interaction on height growth could not be confirmed.

CONCLUSION:

Calcium supplementation of boys in late childhood advanced the age of peak height velocity and resulted in shorter adult stature in a population in whom low calcium intakes and delayed puberty are common. This trial was registered at isrctn.org as ISRCTN28836000.

PMID:
22990031
PMCID:
PMC3642996
DOI:
10.3945/ajcn.112.037481
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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