Send to

Choose Destination
J Bone Miner Res. 1997 Nov;12(11):1824-32.

Appendicular bone mass in children with a high prevalence of low dietary calcium intakes.

Author information

Department of Paediatrics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


We have previously documented evidence of dietary calcium deficiency in black children living in a rural community in the eastern part of South Africa. The present study determined the bone mass of the distal one-third of the radius in a random sample of children living in the same community and compared their bone mass measurements with those of black children living in a similar rural community but without evidence of dietary calcium deficiency. Further, factors (weight, height, serum corrected total calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase [ALP]) that might influence appendicular bone mass were assessed and correlated with the bone mass measurements. A random sample of 306 boys and 345 girls between the ages of 1 and 20 years were included in the study. Hypocalcemia was found in 6.5% of the boys and 5% of the girls, while elevated ALP values were recorded in 20 and 26% of the boys and girls, respectively. After adjusting for differences in age, weight, and height, bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral apparent density (BMAD) were significantly lower and bone width (BW) greater in study than control children. In a stepwise regression analysis, weight and/or height accounted for the majority of the observed variance in BMC, BW, and BMD; however, a significant effect of serum calcium (positively) and ALP (negatively) on BMC and BMD was also found. In boys, but not girls, serum ALP also had a positive effect on BW.BMAD was negatively correlated to ALP and positively correlated to serum calcium in both boys and girls. Those children with hypocalcemia or elevated ALP levels had significantly lower BMC, BMD, and BMAD and a trend toward greater BW than children with normal biochemistry. The findings suggest that low dietary calcium intake may have a detrimental effect on appendicular bone density in rural black children. Whether or not these effects are disadvantageous in the long-term is not known.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center