British Journal of Nutrition

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British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 103:575-580 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Authors 2009

Full Papers

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Calcium requirements for bone growth in Canadian boys and girls during adolescence

Hassanali Vatanparasta1, Donald A. Baileya2a3, Adam D. G. Baxter-Jonesa2 and Susan J. Whitinga1 c1

a1 College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, 110 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5C9
a2 College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5B2
a3 School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Article author query
vatanparast h [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
bailey da [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
baxter-jones adg [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
whiting sj [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Adequate dietary intake during the growth period is critical for bone mineral accretion. In 1997, an adequate intake (AI) of 1300 mg/d Ca was set for North American adolescents aged 9–18 years based on best available data. We determined bone Ca accrual values from age 9 to 18 years taking into account sex and maturity. Furthermore, we used the accrual data to estimate adolescents' Ca requirements. Total body bone mineral content (TBBMC) of eighty-five boys and sixty-seven girls participating in the Saskatchewan Paediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study were used to determine annual TBBMC accumulation over the pubertal growth period. Using a similar factorial approach as the AI, we estimated Ca requirements of adolescent boys and girls for two age groups: 9–13 and 14–18 years. Between 9 and 18 years, boys accrued 198·8 (sd 74·5) g bone mineral content (BMC) per year, equivalent to 175·4 (sd 65·7) mg Ca per d with the maximum BMC accrual of 335·9 g from age 13 to 14 years. Girls had 138·1 (sd 64·2) g BMC per year, equalling121·8 (sd 56·6) mg Ca per d with the maximum annual BMC accrual of 266·0 g from age 12 to 13 years. Differences were observed between both sex and age groups with respect to Ca needs: boys and girls aged 9–13 years would require 1000–1100 mg/d Ca, and from age 14 to 18 years, the mean Ca requirements would be relatively stable at 1000 mg/d for girls but would rise to 1200 mg/d for boys.

(Received March 03 2009)

(Revised August 21 2009)

(Accepted August 24 2009)

(Online publication October 26 2009)

Key Words:Calcium requirements; Bone mineral accrual; Adolescence


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Susan J. Whiting, fax +1 306 966 6377, email