Calcium Supplementation Inadequate in Elderly

Dietary intake low, and despite use of supplements, calcium levels in elderly are insufficient

FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary calcium intake is lower in the elderly and, despite increased frequency of supplemental calcium use, this cohort does not meet the recommended adequate intake (AI) of calcium, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Kelsey M. Mangano, R.D., from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and colleagues determined the variation in dietary and supplemental calcium and energy intake in 9,475 adult respondents to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 2003 to 2006. Using questionnaires and survey analysis, diet and supplement use were assessed, and trends in dietary calcium and total calcium and energy intake across age categories were evaluated.

The investigators found that, compared to the group aged 19 to 30 years, average dietary calcium intake was 23 percent lower in men and 14 percent lower in women aged 81 years or older, coinciding with a 35 percent lower energy intake in men and 28 percent lower in women. Although calcium supplement use frequency increased with age in men and women, a greater decline in average dietary calcium was seen in female supplement users than nonusers. In both men and women, dietary calcium density increased significantly relative to age, but dietary and total calcium to energy ratios were below target ratios of AI after 50 years.

"The age-related increase in the frequency and levels of supplemental intake counteracts, in part, the decline in dietary calcium and energy intake, but does not appear to produce sufficient calcium density to support achievement of AI," the authors write.

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