Calcium intake is associated with adiposity in black and white men and white women of the HERITAGE family study

Ruth J.F. Loos, Tuomo Rankinen, Arthur S. Leon, James S. Skinner, Jack H. Wilmore, D. C. Rao, Claude Bouchard

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109 Scopus citations


Calcium (Ca2+) intake may play a role in the regulation of body weight. Increased Ca2+ intake has been associated with lower body weight, BMI, and adiposity measures in cross-sectional studies. We examined the association between Ca2+ intake, derived from the Willett FFQ, and overall and abdominal adiposity in Black and White men and women of the HERITAGE Family Study. BMI, the percentage of body fat (%FAT), the sum of 8 skinfold thicknesses, computerized tomography total abdominal fat (TAF), abdominal visceral (AVF) and abdominal subcutaneous (ASF) fat, and waist circumference were measured in 362 men (109 Blacks, 253 Whites) and 462 women (201 Blacks, 261 Whites). Subjects were divided into tertiles of energy-adjusted Ca2+ intake. Adiposity measures across tertiles were compared by ANOVA and also regressed against the energy-adjusted Ca2+ intake to test for a linear trend. The strongest inverse associations appeared in Black men and White women. Black men in the high Ca2+ intake group were leaner than those in the low Ca2+ intake group: BMI 23.4 ± 0.9 vs. 26.7 ± 1.1 kg/m2 (P = 0.01); for all other adiposity measures, P < 0.05. In White women, regression analyses showed significant inverse associations between Ca2+ intake and BMI (P = 0.02), %FAT (P = 0.001), TAF (P = 0.006), AVF (P = 0.03), and ASF (P = 0.01). The percentage of fat of White men in the highest Ca2+ intake group was significantly lower than in the lowest Ca2+ group (P = 0.04). No significant associations were found in Black women. Low Ca2+ intake may be associated with higher adiposity, particularly in men and White women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1772-1778
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Abdominal fat
  • Adiposity
  • Body composition
  • Dietary calcium intake
  • HERITAGE Family Study


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