Calcium intake in kids
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Calcium intake in kids

In general, younger boys and girls exceed their recommended AI for calcium, says a report.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 26, 2004 18:47 IST

A new study by researchers at the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy (CFNP) at Virginia Tech has found that calcium intake among U.S. adolescents although inadequate, has remained a constant since the 1970s and does not appear to be linked to soft drink consumption.

The study, conducted by Maureen Storey, PhD, Richard Forshee, PhD and Patricia Anderson, MPP, assessed diet and beverage choices of boys and girls in four age groups: two to three year olds, four to eight year olds, nine to 13 year olds, and 14 to 18 year olds.

According to Maureen Storey, PhD, director of CFNP and lead author of the study, the data continue to show that soft drink consumption by teens is actually far less than is perceived.

The study found that adolescent girls (14 to 18 years of age) on average drink about one 12-ounce can of soda a day, and pre-adolescent girls (nine to 13 years of age) drink about three-fourths of a 12-ounce can each day. Consumption of diet-carbonated soft drinks is low even among teen girls, who consume an average of only 59 grams, or less than two-tenths of a 12-ounce can, per day.

"Many people have the mistaken impression that adolescent girls are drinking inordinate amounts of soft drinks," Storey said.

In general, younger boys and girls (two to three year olds and four to eight years olds) exceed their recommended AI for calcium, but African-American boys and girls in both age groups have significantly lower per cent AIs for calcium than do Caucasian boys and girls.

The study also found that although milk and milk products have the strongest association with calcium intake, soft drink consumption was not linked to decreased calcium intake.

"This is most likely because milk and soft drinks are not close dietary substitutes. Rather, the data suggest that when trade-offs occur, it is more likely to be between carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and ades." Storey said.

Milk consumption among adolescent girls remains low, with this group falling far below recommended dietary levels of calcium consumption.

First Published: Mar 26, 2004 18:47 IST