An Assessment of the Calcium and Vitamin D Intakes in Female University Students
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(2015) An Assessment of the Calcium and Vitamin D Intakes in Female University Students, no. 34.
Background: Calcium is an essential nutrient in the human body that is required for a number of essential bodily functions. Vitamin D is crucial to ensure calcium is being absorbed to a maximal effect. The recently published 2014 National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (NDNS RP) indicates that young adult Scottish females have a poor dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D. A low calcium and, or vitamin D intake can result in a reduced bone mass, leading to osteoporosis later in life. Objective: This study aims to add depth to the growing knowledge of calcium and vitamin D intakes in young adult Scottish females. The study assessed the average dietary intakes of calcium and vitamin D of Queen Margaret University females, and compared these intakes to the dietary reference values. Furthermore, the study compared intakes to that of the NDNS RP to assess any significant differences established in this study. Method: A 4-day diet diary was utilised to assess participant intakes. Intakes were then analysed on computer nutritional analysis software, NETWISP. Results: Participants (n=14) average daily intake of calcium and vitamin D was 631mg/day and 1.9μg/day. The participant group included 14% supplement users. Participant calcium intakes were significantly below the RNI (p<0.05), 14% were below the LRNI. Supplement users for both calcium and vitamin D were not significantly different to non-supplement users, p=0.5 and p=0.89, respectively. This studies calcium and vitamin D intakes were significantly below that of the wider cohort of 19-64 year olds for the NDNS RP. Conclusion: This study indicates that Queen Margaret University students, ages ranging from 19-22 are not consuming adequate intakes of calcium with average intakes below the RNI. Furthermore, 14% were reported to be below the LRNI, indicating a high risk of calcium deficiency, and therefore low bone mass. Extremely low dietary intakes of vitamin D have also been highlighted. Intakes of this age group appear to be significantly lower than those of the NDNS RP, however this age range is much wider 19-64 years. Larger studies are needed, as this small sample size may not be representative of the wider population. Key words: Calcium, Vitamin D, Female University Students, Diet Diary, DRV, NDNS RP