The Assessment of Calcium and Vitamin D Intakes in Female University Students.
(2017) The Assessment of Calcium and Vitamin D Intakes in Female University Students., no. 38.
Background: Calcium and vitamin D are both pivotal for bone health. Recent studies suggest that calcium intakes in the UK are sufficient and meet recommendations. However vitamin D intakes are low, due to a lack of rich sources in the diet and a lack of sunshine exposure. Calcium absorption can be hindered as a result and peak bone mass may not be achieved. Achieving peak bone mass is crucial in the adolescent and young adult population when approximately 35% of adult bone mass is laid down. Failure to reach optimal peak bone mass can increase risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions in later life. Aim: The aim of the present study was to assess calcium and vitamin D intakes in a cohort of Scottish female university students; and to compare these intakes to the dietary reference values for calcium, the reference nutrient intake for vitamin D and findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Method: Estimated 4-day diet diaries were used to assess participants' dietary intakes. NetWisp nutritional analysis software was utilised to analyse the diet diaries. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS and Microsoft Excel through independent t-tests which highlighted any significant differences between mean intakes in the current study, the dietary reference values and intakes from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results: Mean ±SD calcium and vitamin D intakes of participants (n=25) were 703±360mg/d and 1.6±1.5μg/d respectively excluding supplements. Mean intakes were 716±352mg/d and 4.2±6.3μg/d when supplements were added. Calcium intakes were not significantly different to the RNI (p>0.05). 8% did not meet the LRNI. There were no significant findings when compared to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Vitamin D intakes, supplements included, were significantly lower than the RNI (p<0.05). 16% of participants met the RNI through supplementation. Intakes excluding supplementation were significantly lower than those of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (p<0.05). Conclusion: Calcium intakes are satisfactory among female university students, but vitamin D intakes are not. Vitamin D supplementation should be encouraged in this population to help achieve peak bone mass and help reduce osteoporosis risk in later life. Key Words: calcium, vitamin D, females, students, peak bone mass, osteoporosis.