Determining female QMU students' calcium and vitamin D intakes and compare these to the national recommendations and the findings from the National Diet and Nutrient Survey.
(2017) Determining female QMU students' calcium and vitamin D intakes and compare these to the national recommendations and the findings from the National Diet and Nutrient Survey., no. 31.
Background: It is essential to have sufficient calcium and vitamin D intakes to achieve peak bone mass during the late teenage years and the early adult years. Vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium in bones. Insufficient vitamin D intakes can result in osteomalacia in adults and osteoporosis in the elderly. Calcium is present in a wide variety of food whereas vitamin D is only naturally present in a small amount; the main source of vitamin D comes from sunlight in the form of UVB radiation. Since sunlight exposure is limited in the UK, the population is at high risk of deficiency. There is a gap in research into young women's bone health so the present study aims to add a new body of research. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine calcium and vitamin D intakes in a female University student cohort in Scotland. The mean results were compared to the dietary reference values/SACN required intake and the findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Method: Assessment was carried out by a 4-day diet diary including 1 weekend day and 3 weekdays, the same format as the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. The diet diaries will be assessed on the nutritional analysis software, Netwisp. Independent t-tests were carried on Microsoft Excel to establish any differences between the mean intakes from the present study and the dietary reference value/SACN required intake and the findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results: The sample size was 25. The mean (±SD) calcium intake was 715.9mg/d (±351.67mg/d), which was not found to be significantly different from the dietary reference value or the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Two participants reported taking calcium supplementation, without this supplementation they would not have reached the estimated average requirement for calcium. The mean (±SD) dietary intake of vitamin D was 1.6μg/d (±1.52), but when supplementation was included it increased to 4.2μg/d (±6.38). Five participants reported taking vitamin D supplementation and only these participants reached the SACN required intake. The mean dietary intake was significantly lower than the SACN required intake. The findings from the NDNS were significantly higher than the mean vitamin D dietary intake from the current study. Conclusion: The results from the study showed sufficient calcium intakes but insufficient vitamin D intakes within a female University student population. It is essential for this group to attain peak bone mass in their late teenage years and early adult years as females have a severe decline in bone mass after menopause. The results indicate that young females are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency so therefore steps should be taken to improve intakes in this group. Fortification of staple foods and additional supplementation may be essential to combat this growing Scottish public health concern. Keywords: calcium, vitamin D, osteoporosis, DRV, NDNS, SACN