Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Low dietary calcium in European postmenopausal osteoporotic women

Olivier Bruyerea1 p1 c1, Caroline De Cocka1, Catherine Motteta1, Audrey Neupreza1, Olivier Malaisea1 and Jean-Yves Reginstera1

a1 WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Aspects of Osteoarticular Disorders and Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium


Objective The WHO recommends a daily Ca intake for postmenopausal women of 1300 mg. The objective of the present study was to assess the dietary Ca intake in European postmenopausal osteoporotic women.

Design, setting and subjects Assessment of dietary Ca intake (food and supplements) was performed with a validated self-questionnaire in 8524 osteoporotic women from nine European countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK).

Results Mean age of the patients was 74·2 (sd 7·1) years, mean BMI was 25·7 (sd 4·2) kg/m2. Of the study population, 37·2 % of the women took Ca supplements. The mean dietary intake of Ca was 930·7 (sd 422·9) mg/d. The lowest Ca intake was found in Hungary (586·7 (sd 319·1) mg/d) and the highest in Denmark (1145·6 (sd 463·0) mg/d). In the whole study population, only 19·1 % of the women had a dietary Ca intake >1300 mg/d. Only 17·1 % of women aged over 75 years achieved 1300 mg/d compared with 20·5 % of women aged less than 75 years (P = 0·0001 for the difference between the two groups).

Conclusion Dietary intake of Ca is very low in European postmenopausal women. A greater awareness is needed to resolve this public health problem.

(Received September 11 2007)

(Accepted February 13 2008)


c1 Corresponding author: Email

p1 Correspondence address: Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liege, CHU Sart-Tilman, B-4000 Liège, Belgium.