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Flemish children and vitamin D



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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;65(9):1039-47. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.71. Epub 2011 May 11. Dietary sources and sociodemographic and economic factors affecting vitamin D and calcium intakes in Flemish preschoolers.Huybrechts I1, Lin Y, De Keyzer W, Sioen I, Mouratidou T, Moreno LA, Slimani N, Jenab M, Vandevijvere S, De Backer G, De Henauw S.Unit Nutrition and Food Safety, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. Inge.huybrechts@ugent.be

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Low calcium and vitamin D intakes have been associated with health risks in childhood and adulthood. This study aims to investigate dietary sources of calcium and vitamin D intake, and its associated sociodemographic, economic and lifestyle factors among preschoolers.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: Three-day estimated diet records from 696 Flemish preschoolers 2.5-6.5 years old (51% boys) were used (66% of 1052 collected diaries). Contribution of 58 food groups to calcium and vitamin D intake were computed. Multiple linear regression was used to examine associations of intakes with sociodemographic, economic and lifestyle factors.

RESULTS: Mean calcium intake (844 mg per day) was above, and mean vitamin D intake (2.0 μg per day) largely below the Belgian recommendations. Milk, sweetened milk drinks and cheese were the main sources of calcium intakes (26, 25 and 11%, respectively). Butter and margarine were the main vitamin D sources (26%), followed by growth milk (=fortified milk) (20%) and fish (15%). Calcium and vitamin D intake were negatively associated with participants' age, and calcium positively with parental education and family size. The child's gender, supplement use and physical activity level, and the employment status and smoking behaviour of the parents were not associated with calcium or vitamin D intake.

CONCLUSIONS: Flemish preschoolers had too low vitamin D intakes while most had adequate calcium intakes. Milk (including sweetened, fortified/growth milk) was the main food source of calcium intake and the second important source of vitamin D intake after butter and margarine. Calcium intake was positively associated with parental education, while vitamin D intake was not.

PMID: 21559036

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Dairy products
Vitamin D