Consumption of milk products, calcium and vitamin D by Estonian children in 1996 and 2002
AbstractBackground: Dairy products are major contributors of dietary calcium owing to their high calcium content, high bioavailability of calcium and frequency of consumption. Objectives: The aim of this paper was to compare the consumption of milk products, calcium and vitamin D among a group of 3-4-year-old Estonian children in 1996 and the same children in 2002 when they were 9-11 years old. Design: The analysis was based on 3-day dietary record data collected from children and their parents. The intakes of calcium and vitamin D were compared with the Estonian recommended daily intakes based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations. Nutrient analysis was done using the Finnish Micro-Nutrica programme adapted for nutrient surveys in Estonia. Results: The mean calcium intake in both rural and urban children was above the recommended daily intake (RDI) at 3-4 years of age, while it was close to the RDI at 9-11 years of age. The mean calcium density was lower at 9-11 years of age than at 3-4 years of age. Milk and dairy products were the primary sources of calcium: in 1996 milk as a beverage contributed 66% of calcium in the diets of rural children and 44% in those of urban children. In 2002 the calcium contribution by milk as a beverage was lower (50% in rural and 39% in urban children). The mean intakes of vitamin D did not meet the RDI in either age group in either period and were below 50% of recommended levels. Conclusions: The mean calcium density in diets of 3-4-year-olds (476 mg 1000 kcal-1) was higher than that of 9-11-year-olds (422 mg 1000 kcal-1), but the intake of foods prepared with milk declined in both areas from 1996 to 2002. The intake of vitamin D was very low in 1996 and continued to be low 6 years later. More effective nutritional educational efforts are needed to emphasize the importance of adequate calcium and vitamin D intake. Strategies including milk fortification in Estonia should be considered. Keywords: calcium and vitamin D intake; children’s nutrition; Micro-Nutrica
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