Calcium and Vitamin D intakes of female university students.
(2017) Calcium and Vitamin D intakes of female university students., no. 35.
Osteoporosis affects more than 75million people in the western world and causes more than 8.9million fractures a year, a figure expected to increase 3-fold over the next 50years due to an ageing population. High peak bone mass (PBM) can reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis in later life. Diet can influence PBM, in particular, calcium and vitamin D. It is therefore important that DRV's for these are met in order to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. A recent publication by SACN has lead to recent implementation of new DRV's for vitamin D based on the high prevalence of low vitamin D status in the UK. The most recent data from the NDNS indicates that a significant proportion of young females have calcium intakes below the lower reference nutrient intake (RNI) and that vitamin D intakes are well below the new RNI. In addition, serum vitamin D levels are below the lower threshold for adequacy. Aim: The aim of this study was to provide quantitative data on the dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D in female university students aged 18-35years. Materials and methods: Participants were required to complete a 4-day diet diary over consecutive days including one weekend day, using household measures to indicate portion sizes. Data collected was analysed using NetWISP to convert food consumed into nutrient intakes. Statistical analyses were then carried out using a sample t-test to indicate significance when comparing mean intakes of vitamin D and calcium to results from the national diet and nutrition survey and to dietary reference values. Results: Mean intakes of vitamin D are 2.5μg/day, significantly lower than the new RNI (P=<0.00) and comparable to the NDNS (P=0.75). Mean calcium intake is 735.65mg/day, meeting the RNI, comparable to the NDNS (P=0.90), however 4% have intakes below the LRNI. Conclusion: It is unlikely that the new RNI for vitamin D can be met through diet alone. In combination with the low calcium intakes observed in a small subset of the population, this has implications for the development of PBM and so the risk of osteoporosis development is increased.