Family Calcium Intake Linked to Children's Health Outcomes

Those from families with high calcium intake had lower risk of stroke death in long-term follow-up
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- A family diet high in calcium during childhood may be associated with a lower risk of death from stroke later in life, according to research published online July 29 in Heart.

Jolieke van der Pols, Ph.D., of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data from 4,374 subjects whose families participated in a study of food consumption in the late 1930s. The families at that time recorded a seven-day household food inventory to provide for the assessment of food and nutrient consumption. By the end of follow-up in 2005, 34 percent of the subjects had died.

The researchers found that childhood calcium intake was associated with a lower risk of stroke mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.41 for highest versus lowest calcium group). All-cause mortality was also lower in those with the highest family dairy and calcium intakes. However, neither milk nor calcium was clearly associated with mortality from coronary heart disease.

"Dairy products are important contributors to children's intake of protein, vitamins and minerals and they play an important role in the maintenance of bone health. The beneficial effects of dairy and calcium intake suggested by this study were seen at estimated intake levels that are similar to the currently recommended intake amount for dairy and calcium in children," the authors conclude.

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