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Nutrients. 2019 Mar 27;11(4). pii: E714. doi: 10.3390/nu11040714.

Interventions Aimed at Increasing Dairy and/or Calcium Consumption of Preschool-Aged Children: A Systematic Literature Review.

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Department of Human Health & Nutritional Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada.
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada.
Department of Human Health & Nutritional Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada.


Dairy product consumption is important during childhood, as dairy products provide nutrients to support growth and development. However, a high proportion of children globally are not meeting recommended daily intakes, which may have long-term health implications. Accumulating evidence suggests that interventions aimed at instilling healthy lifestyle habits are most effective when initiated during the preschool years. Therefore, the purpose of the review was to identify the characteristics of effective dairy and/or calcium interventions targeting preschool-aged children. A systematic literature review identified 14 intervention studies published between 1998⁻2018 addressing dairy/calcium intakes in the preschool population (1.5 to 5 years). Intervention reporting was assessed using intervention intensity, behavior change techniques and Workgroup for Intervention Development and Evaluation Research (WIDER), with the quality of studies evaluated using risk of bias and Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). Five of the 14 studies included in the review reported significant improvements in children's dairy (4/5) or calcium (1/5) intake. Characteristics that may enable intervention effectiveness include the delivery of interventions in one setting (preschool facility), using specific behavior change techniques (environmental restructuring and teach to use prompts/cues), and targeting both parent and child. Overall, the interventions assessed demonstrated variable success and highlighted the need for developing effective interventions designed to increase dairy and/or calcium intakes in preschool-aged children.


calcium; child; dairy; intervention; nutrition; parent; preschool

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