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J Adolesc Health. 1995 Jun;16(6):458-64.

Dieting attitudes and behavior in urban high school students: implications for calcium intake.

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School of Family and Nutritional Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.



Adolescence is a time of rapid gain in bone density which may be influenced by calcium intake. This study assessed whether dieting concerns, known to be prevalent in adolescent girls, were associated with the calcium intake of adolescents of varying ethnicity.


Students (n = 856) completed an instrument which assessed current weight, desired weight, height, age, ethnicity, calcium intake using a food frequency questionnaire, dieting concerns using the Eating Attitudes Test dieting subscale (DS), taste enjoyment of dairy products, and type of milk consumed.


Among 782 students with useable responses, most girls (69.1%) wanted to lose weight and most boys (54.2%) wanted to gain weight. Asian girls had lower body mass index (BMI) than Caucasians (19.3 +/- 2.1 vs 20.8 +/- 2.6 kg/m2, p < 0.05), but desired BMI did not vary by ethnicity in either girls or boys. Asian girls also had lower DS scores than Caucasians, but the difference was not significant with current BMI as a covariate. Girls' DS scores were higher than those of boys (6.3 +/- 6.5 vs 2.3 +/- 3.2, p < 0.001), and estimated calcium intakes were lower (815 +/- 528 vs 1149 +/- 701 mg/day, p < 0.001); however, DS scores were not associated with calcium intake for either sex. Especially among girls, dieting and body size concerns were associated with taste enjoyment of certain dairy products, and with the type, but not the amount, of milk consumed. Girls using skim milk had higher DS scores than those using low-fat or whole milk.


In this non-clinical sample, greater concern about dieting and body size did not directly compromise calcium intake but was associated with the type of milk used.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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