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Calcium Supplements Fail To Prevent Bone Fractures in Children

Armen Hareyan's picture

Calcium supplements and Children's Bones

Calcium supplements have very little benefit for preventing fractures in childhood and later adulthood, concludes a study in the BMJ.

Children taking such supplements are have only small improvements in bone density, which are unlikely to reduce fracture risk, says the study carried out by researchers at the Menzies Research Institute in Australia and other approaches could be more beneficial such as increasing vitamin D concentrations and eating more fruit and vegetables.

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Osteoporosis is a major public health problem, particularly in women, and low bone mineral density is an important risk factor for osteoporotic fractures. Bone density worsens for women after the menopause, so intervention in childhood to maximise peak bone mass by improving factors such as diet and physical activity can minimise the impact of bone loss related to age.

The researchers analysed the findings of 19 different studies involving 2,859 children collectively aged between three and 18. They included randomised trials of calcium supplementation in healthy children that lasted at least three months and which measured bone outcomes after at least six months of follow-up.

They found there was a small effect on total body bone mineral content and upper limb bone mineral density