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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


ORTEGA, R. M.  and  GRUPO DE INVESTIGACION Nº 920030 et al. Food sources and average intake of calcium in a representative sample of Spanish schoolchildren. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2012, vol.27, n.3, pp.715-723. ISSN 1699-5198.

Introduction: There is controversy about the adequacy of calcium intake to that recommended in Spanish schoolchildren. Some studies indicate that the intake is inadequate in a variable percentage of children, while others insist on the danger of an excessive intake in a huge percentage of this population. Aim: To assess calcium intake and food sources of this nutrient in a representative sample of Spanish children and to judge the adequacy of its contribution to the coverage of recommended intakes. Methods: 903 schoolchildren (7 to 11 years) from 10 Spanish provinces (Tarragona, Caceres, Burgos, Guadalajara, Valencia, Salamanca, Cordoba, Vizcaya, Lugo and Madrid) were studied. They constituted a representative sample of the Spanish schoolchildren population. The energy and nutrient intake was determined using a "Food record questionnaire" for 3 days, including a Sunday. Calcium intake was compared with the recommended intakes (RI) for the mineral. Weight and height were recorded and body mass index (BMI) calculated. Results: In the studied group (55.3% girls and 44.7% of children), 30.7% had an excess body weight (23.3% overweight and 7.4% obesity). Calcium intake was 859.9 ± 249.2 mg / day (79.5% of the recommendations). 76.7% of children had intakes below 100% of those recommended and 40.1% below of 67% of RI. The ratios calcium/phosphorus (0.74 ± 0.21) and calcium/protein (10.1 ± 2.8) and the index of nutritional quality for calcium (0.78 ± 0.29) were lower than recommended in 91.6%, 99.8% and 81.1% of children, respectively. Dietary calcium came from dairy products (64.7%), dietetic products and infant formulae (7.6%), cereals (7.3%), vegetables (3.5%), fruits (3.4%), pre-cooked meals (3.3%), meats (2.8%), fishes (2.8%) and pulses (2.2%), with no differences by gender. Conclusion: Calcium intake was lower than recommended in 76.7% of the children and 40.1% had insufficient intake (< 67% of RI). Having in mind that the main calcium source was dairy products (64.7%), increase consumption of this food group is recommended, especially in the 37.1% of children who did not reach the 2 recommended servings per day.

Keywords : Calcium; Dairy products; Insufficient intake; Schoolchildren; Representative sample.

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