Intended for healthcare professionals


Bone health in children

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 12 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:763
  1. Amy Joy Lanou (, assistant professor
  1. Department of Health and Wellness, CPO 2730, University of North Carolina Asheville, Asheville, NC 28806, USA

    Guidelines for calcium intake should be revised

    Conventional wisdom, public policy on nutrition in many westernised countries, and advertisements for dairy products link increased consumption of calcium to better bone health and prevention of osteoporosis in later life. However, a meta-analysis by Winzenberg and colleagues in this week's BMJ shows that calcium supplementation in children is unlikely to result in a clinically relevant decrease in the risk of fracture in childhood or in later life.1

    Previous research has questioned whether increasing calcium intake through diet or supplements benefits children's or young adults' bones. Exercise significantly increased bone density and bone strength, but calcium intake between 500 and 1500 mg had no effect on the same outcomes in adolescent girls studied prospectively for 12 years as they passed into young adulthood.2 Of three qualitative reviews of literature published in this decade, two concluded …

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