Habitual dietary calcium intake and body weight in 7-10 year old children

Amy Jennings, GJ Davies, PW Dettmar, V Costarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Several recent observational studies detected inverse associations between dietary calcium intake and body weight. It was demonstrated that low calcium diets lead to an increase in intracellular calcium concentrations, which in turn act to promote body fat deposition, reduce lipolysis and reduce thermogenesis. Most of the studies have been conducted on adults, however, it was recently demonstrated that longitudinal calcium intake is negatively associated with children's body fat levels. The purpose of the current study is to investigate possible associations between habitual calcium intake and body weight in a group of 7–10 years old children.

Design/methodology/approach: Eighty‐five children, 21 boys and 64 girls (mean age: 9.2±0.9) were recruited from 12 primary schools in the London area. Dietary intake was measured using the 7‐day weighed inventory method. Body weight and height measurements were also recorded.

Findings: Data suggested that girls have significantly lower intakes of calcium than boys and that 48 per cent of boys and 38 per cent of girls were overweight (above the 91st centile). However, there were no significant correlations between body weight or body mass index (BMI) and habitual intake of dietary calcium in this age group, which is in contrast with the results of similar studies conducted in adults.

Originality/value: One explanation could be that the possible effect of calcium on adiposity and body weight is more pronounced in adulthood than in childhood. It is important for future studies to measure levels of body fat in children together with body weight in conjunction with calcium intake in order to elucidate the original hypothesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-342
Number of pages36
JournalNutrition and Food Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Cite this