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A17. Dietary calcium intakes of term infants with special reference to nutrients known to effect calcium uptake

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Background Bone health is an issue that is being strongly promoted in an attempt to reduce the numbers of people, especially women, developing osteoporosis and other bone wasting disorders in later life. Peak bone mass is attained at around 25 years but the majority of bone mass is laid down at a much younger age than this ( Thomas, 1995).

There is very little published data on the nutritional intakes of infants less than 6 months of age.

Aims To examine the intakes of calcium and vitamin D among infants and also their macronutrient intake to provide an overview of the composition of the infants’ diets.

Methods This study involved analysing 30 seven‐day weighed food intake diaries, with reference to the infants’ calcium, vitamin D and general macronutrient status. Six diaries were carried out per infant at four‐month intervals, starting at 4 months of age. The data were analysed using the computerized nutritional analysis programme, COMPEAT.

Results The general macronutrient status of the infants was found to be variable Their energy intake was often below the recommended level as was carbohydrate and fat. However, their protein intakes were generally much better. Overall, it appeared that mothers were feeding their children in accordance to the adult healthy eating guidelines and so creating a diet deficient in some of the major macronutrients.

The calcium intakes of the infants were generally enough to meet their RNI. Consistently, throughout the diaries, the food making the greatest contribution to the infants calcium intake was milk: either breast milk, formula milk or whole cows milk.

The vitamin D intakes of the infants were far more variable. When infants were taking formula milks, fortified with vitamin D, their intakes were always above the RNI. As soon as complimentary feeding was started and other foods started replacing the milk their levels of vitamin D dropped considerably effecting the bioavailabiltiy of the calcium in their diet. Unfortunately. Other sources of vitamin D, such as vitamin supplements or sunlight were not measured.

Conclusions This study showed that infants often have poor nutritional status at a young age, which is due in no small part to the use of adult healthy eating guidelines as a reference for their diet. This indicates that mothers need educating on the types of foods needed for complimentary feeding.
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Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: School of Biological Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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