Dietary intake of calcium in pre-school and school children in Russia: main food sources and eating occasions

AbstractIt is known that adequate calcium intake determines formation of skeleton and genetic predisposition of its weight and density peak. Optimal calcium intake in the childhood determines risk reduction of density loss and osteoporosis in the adulthood. This research explored contribution of different food sources, as well as eating occasions on calcium dietary intake among preschool and school children (4-13 years old). Mean daily Calcium intake and dairy products consumption depending on family income have been analyzed. Dietary intake was evaluated by 24-hour recall method. National food composition data tables have been used to estimate mean nutrient intake. Dairy products were classified in accordance with local food grouping system. Percent of children consuming products - sources of calcium, amount per consumer, contribution of eating occasions to Calcium intake, foods consumed at breakfast as well as Calcium intake and dairy products consumption depending on household income has been analysed. Nationally representative sample of preschool and school age children, Russia National Nutritional Survey, was conducted in all regions of Russia in 2013 by state Federal Statistics Service - Rosstat. Sample size was 22 771 children split in four age groups: 4-6 y.o. (n=7303), 7-8 y.o. (n=4391), 9-10 y.o. (n=4691) and 11-13 y.o. (n=6386). The study confirmed the indications in the domestic and foreign literature that calcium intake was insufficient in children aged 4-13 years. Data showed age related particularities in consumption of products-sources of Calcium: percent of children consuming milk and milk-based beverages, milk porridges, cottage cheese declined rapidly in older age groups in comparison to preschoolers. A slight increase of cheese consumption was shown in older age groups. Breakfast is an important eating occasion that provides a significant proportion (23-28%) into calcium daily intake in children. Habit of skipping breakfast puts calcium daily intake at risk as it is not compensated throughout the day at other eating occasions. Our results indicate lower daily Calcium intake in breakfast skippers (11-14% of children) compared with kids of the same age who had breakfast at the day of survey. Sweetened tea and coffee consumption increased in older age groups and contrary, a milk and milk based beverages consumption droped in school age. We found lower Calcium intake and lower accessibility to variety of Calcium food sources in low socio-economic class of the children population, where milk seems to be the main product from milk and dairy food group. The findings can assist in developing food-based recommendations for optimal intake of calcium in children's daily diet. Consumption of dairy products is required to meet adequate intake and to low down prevalence of inadequate intake. There is room for improvement of dairy product consumption in terms of variety and number of serving a day especially, for children in older age groups. More attention to be dedicated to breakfast as it is an important eating occasion that contributes significantly to calcium daily intake. Study findings call for intervention programs aiming to correct the inadequacies of calcium intake in schoolchildren's diets, including nutrition education for families and support for accessibility of the products rich in calcium by low socio-economic population groups; for example, by inclusion of milk and dairy products into the school feeding programs.

Keywords:children 4-13 years old, dietary intake, dairy food, calcium, socio-economic status

Voprosy pitaniia [Problems of Nutrition]. 2018; 87 (2): 24-33.

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