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Fat mass gain is lower in calcium-supplemented than in unsupplemented preschool children with low dietary calcium intakes

DeJongh, Elizabeth D., Binkley, Teresa L., Specker, Bonny L.
American journal of clinical nutrition 2006 v.84 no.5 pp. 1123-1127
child nutrition, preschool children, nutrient deficiencies, dietary minerals, calcium, dietary mineral supplements, human physiology, child growth, body fat, boys, girls, lipolysis, metabolic inhibitors, lipogenesis, gender differences, nutrient intake, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, physical activity, gender, age, weight gain
BACKGROUND: Dietary calcium may play a role in the stimulation of lipolysis and the inhibition of lipogenesis, thereby reducing body fat. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to determine whether an association existed between change in percentage body fat (%BF) or fat mass and calcium intake in children aged 3-5 y. DESIGN: A secondary analysis of a 1-y randomized calcium and activity trial in 178 children was conducted. Three-day diet records and 48-h accelerometer readings were obtained at 0, 6, and 12 mo. Body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at 0 and 12 mo. RESULTS: The decrease in %BF was less in girls (-0.6 ± 2.8%) than in boys (-1.5 ± 2.6%; P = 0.03) and correlated with age (r = 0.19, P = 0.01) and maternal body mass index (r = 0.19, P = 0.02). Changes in fat mass were not significantly different by activity group or between children randomly assigned to receive calcium or placebo (0.5 ± 0.9 and 0.6 ± 0.8 kg, respectively; P = 0.32). Similar findings were observed for the change in %BF. No correlations between %BF and fat mass changes and dietary calcium (r = -0.01, P = 0.9 and r = -0.05, P = 0.5) or total (dietary + supplement) calcium intake (r = -0.02, P = 0.8 and r = -0.06, P = 0.4) were observed. Among children in the lowest tertile of dietary calcium (<821 mg/d), fat mass gain was lower in the calcium group (0.3 ± 0.5 kg) than in the placebo group (0.8 ± 1.1 kg) (P = 0.04) but was not correlated with mean total calcium intake (r = -0.20). CONCLUSION: These findings support a weak relation between changes in fat mass gain and calcium intake in preschool children, who typically consume below recommended amounts of dietary calcium.