Background: Milk and dairy products play an important role in optimal growth and development of children.
Objective: To examine dairy intake, body composition including bone mineral status, and physical activity in children.
Methods: A small cross-sectional study of 45 pre-pubertal children (5-10 years). Anthropometric data was collected and physical activity level (PAL) was determined via questionnaire. Body composition and total headless bone mineral content (tBMC), bone mineral density (tBMD), lumbar spine BMC and BMD were measured with dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Calcium intake was assessed using both food frequency questionnaire-(FFQ) and an estimated 3-day diet record-(3DDR).
Results: Average daily serves of dairy (4.8±1.7) and calcium (1474±547mg) intake were above typical levels. FFQ overestimated calcium intake compared to 3DDR (884±373mg/day). The mean BMI for boys was 17.4±2.9 and girls was 16.4±1.9 and their respective mean z-scores were +0.53 and +0.11. Boys had significantly higher lean body mass (LBM)(p<0.02) and girls had higher percent body fat (%BF)(p<0.0005). tBMC was positively associated with LBM(p<0.0001) and total fat mass (TFM)(p=0.0035) but negatively to %BF(p<0.0001). tBMD was positively related to LBM(p<0.0001) and TFM(p=0.0003) but negatively to %BF(p=0.020). PAL was positively associated with tBMD(p=0.013) and negatively with %BF(p=0.003). Calcium/dairy intake was not significantly related to body composition, physical activity, and anthropometric variables.
Conclusions: Dairy consumption in these children was considerably higher than the national average, however high dairy intake did not adversely affect body composition. Body composition and physical activity significantly predicted children’s bone health.
Funding source(s): Partial funding by Fonterra Co-Operative Group Ltd.