Impact of calcium intake on body mass index in Venezuelan adolescents

Cristina Palacios, Paola Benedetti, Silvia Fonseca


The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing worldwide, affecting approximately 15% of adolescents in Venezuela, 17% in United States, and more than 30% in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Recent studies have shown that dietary calcium and dairy intake are associated with body fat. These studies show that a high calcium intake results in low body mass index (BMI). Therefore, the objective of the present study is to relate calcium intake from foods rich in calcium-rich foods to body weight and BMI in a random sample of 100 adolescents, aged 13-18 years. Anthropometric measurements (weight and height) were obtained for each participant, who also completed a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), modified with calcium-rich foods. Dietary calcium consumption was 1076±534 mg/d among the adolescents, which represented an adequacy of 90%. A negative and significant association was found between calcium intake and BMI in the boys aged 13-15 years (r= -0.39, p < 0.05). This population subgroup exhibited the widest range of BMI values among all groups evaluated. This correlation was not found among the older boys (aged 16-18 years) or girls, in which BMI was in the normal range and with relatively high calcium intake. In conclusion, we found that high calcium intake in younger boys was related to a lower BMI. A high calcium intake, not only helps to maintain a healthy body weight, but also is essential for acquiring peak bone mass in this crucial stage of life.

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