Calcium and Bone Mass Among Adolescent Girls

Calcium Intake and Bone Mass Development Among Israeli Adolescent Girls

Geila S. Rozen, RD, PhD, Gad Rennert, MD, Hedy S. Rennert, MPH, Gissel Diab,RD, MSc, Dib Daud, MD, Sofia Ish-Shalom, MD

Department of Diet and Nutrition (G.S.R., G.D.), Metabolic Bone Diseases Unit, Department of Endocrinology (D.D., S.I.-S.), Rambam Medical Center, Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology, Carmel Medical Center (G.R., H.S.R.), Haifa, ISRAEL []

Objective: To determine the possible relationship between food and life style habits and bone health in adolescent Israeli females.

Methods: 2,000 adolescent Israeli Jewish and Arab high-school girls (mean age 14.5) completed a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire and a personal history questionnaire. 27 food components were calculated for each subject. Bone mineral content and density were determined for 112 subjects with calcium intake below 800 mg/day.

Results: Average calcium intake was found to be 1,260 mg/day, but 20% of all girls had a calcium intake below 800 mg/day. All low-energy diets were very low in calcium, as mean calcium intake per 1,000 calories was 411±128 grams. A large percentage of diets with less than 800 mg calcium were also deficient in phosphorus (95.2%), magnesium (84.8%), iron (90.5%) and zinc (100%). Due to differences in food sources, Jewish girls had more phosphorus in their diet, but less magnesium and iron compared to Arab girls. Calcium and zinc deficiencies in Jewish and Arab diets were similar. A negative correlation was found between body mass index (BMI) and age at menarche for all girls in the study. Bone mineral density (BMD) measured for girls with calcium intake below 800mg/day distributed normally around the average when compared to age matched controls despite their low calcium intake. There was a b positive correlation between BMD and bone mineral content (BMC) at all sites and body weights.

Conclusions: Low calcium intake, other nutritional deficiencies and delayed menarche due to low-energy diet in the growing period and in adolescence may prevent the formation of healthy bones. There is no evidence of lower bone mass among the low calcium intake group in the study population at this stage. It remains to be documented if the window of opportunity for optimal bone accretion for this group will be missed in the future, possibly leading to increased risk of osteoporosis.

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