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Early calcium intake fights osteoporosis.

Young children may benefit later in life from getting more than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium in their diets now, report a group of Indiana University School of Medicine researchers. "The study showed that, even when a preadolescent child's normal dietary calcium intake met the RDA (800 mg), additional calcium significantly increased the gain of bone mass," notes C. Conrad Johnston, Jr., the principal investigator. "If the increase in bone mass can be maintained into adult life, we would expect a lower risk of osteoporotic fractures in those with the greater bone mass."

Calcium intake is essential during childhood because more than 90% of bone density develops by age 18. According to researchers, 80% of this is determined genetically. "It is what we can do to maximize our potential with that other 20% that interests us," Johnston indicates.

Forty-five healthy identical twin pairs completed the three-year study. All continued with their normal diet, which, on average, included the RDA of calcium for their age group. However, one child in each pair received an average of 700 milligrams of calcium citrate malate, delivered in tablet form daily. Previous studies have shown it to be absorbed well by children and young adults, and to slow bone loss in older women. Among the 22 preadolescent pairs, the twins who received the extra calcium showed greater bone growth over all and statistically significant greater gains of four to five percent in the forearm and spine. The supplement they took was comparable to slightly more than two additional servings of calcium-rich food such as an eight-ounce glass of milk or calcium-fortified orange juice, or one cup of yogurt.
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Title Annotation:bones
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Words:275
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