Aim In a sample of older women, we assessed the proportion who met the estimated average requirement (1100 mg/day) for calcium and the dietary food choices that achieved calcium adequacy. We also assessed if the diets adequate in dietary calcium were consistent with the other dietary recommendations for health.
Methods Baseline data from women aged 50+ years who were recruited for dietary intervention studies were included as a proxy for usual intake. Analyses of usual food and nutrient intake were derived from two 24-hour recalls.
Results Women (n = 145) aged 50+ years (mean age 59.3 (SD 5.5) years, mean calcium intake of 815 (323) mg calcium/day) participated. Approximately one-fifth met the estimated average requirement for calcium (21%, n = 31); among this group, dairy products contributed to 61% of calcium intake (mean 2.8 (SD 1.0) servings/day). Milk contributed 33% (425 mg) of total dietary calcium. Three per cent consumed skim milk only. Both groups (calcium adequate/inadequate) exceeded the suggested dietary target (≤10%) recommended for percent energy from saturated fat, 13.4% (3.7%) and 11.7% (3.5%), respectively. In the adequate group, if skim milk replaced full-fat and reduced-fat milk, then percent energy from saturated fat would fall by 3% (from 13.4% of energy to 10.4% of energy).
Conclusions Consumption of at least 2.8 servings/day of dairy products is likely to ensure an adequate calcium intake (>1100 mg) in women over 50 years. However, to ensure saturated fat remains at recommended levels, usual consumption of full-fat and reduced-fat milk should be replaced with skim milk.
Field of Research
111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
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