Calcium balance in 1-4-y-old children

Mary Frances Lynch, Ian J. Griffin, Keli M. Hawthorne, Zhensheng Chen, Maria Hamzo, Steven A. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Few calcium balance data are available from young children on which to base dietary recommendations. Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate the relation between calcium intake and balance in healthy children aged 1-4 y consuming typical American diets. Design: Subjects were assigned to a diet with nutrient intakes similar to those of their usual diet. Calcium absorption was assessed by using a dual-tracer stable-isotope technique. Endogenous fecal excretion was measured in a subset of children, and net calcium balance was calculated. Results: Mean calcium intake was 551 mg/d (range: 124-983 mg/d), and mean (±SEM) calcium retention was 161 ± 17 mg/d. Both linear and nonlinear modeling of balance data showed that a calcium intake of ≈470 mg/d led to calcium retention of 140 mg/d, which is the amount that meets expected bone growth needs in children of this age. No evidence was found that calcium intakes of 800 to 900 mg/d reached the threshold intake beyond which no additional increase in calcium retention would occur. Conclusions: Bone growth needs in 1-4-y-old children following American diets are met by a daily calcium intake of ≈470 mg/d, which suggests that the current Adequate Intake of 500 mg/d is close to the actual Estimated Average Requirement. The benefits and risks of higher calcium intakes consistent with threshold values should be evaluated in a controlled trial before those intakes could be used as a basis for dietary recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-754
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioavailability
  • Calcium absorption
  • Nutrient requirements
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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