85 percent of postmenopausal women do not get enough calcium

An analysis presented today at the 27th Annual Meeting of The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research found that 85 percent of postmenopausal women do not get enough calcium on a daily basis.

The pooled analysis of baseline calcium intake from six major Phase III osteoporosis trials showed that on average women consumed 727 mg of calcium per day, approximately 500 mg below the United States recommended daily intake of 1200 mg/day for women aged 50 years and older.

"Despite increasing public awareness and patient education about the importance of calcium, this analysis showed that average daily calcium intake has not improved since the landmark Study of Osteoporotic Fractures nearly 20 years ago," said co-author Robert P. Heaney, M.D., FACP, FACN, of the Osteoporosis Research Center at Creighton University Medical Center and professor of medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. "Clearly new approaches are needed to help change patient behavior."

The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, conducted from 1986 to 1988, found that postmenopausal women's average daily calcium intake was 714 mg per day. Since then, calcium supplementation has been an integral part of all clinical trials for osteoporosis.

"For women taking a prescription osteoporosis treatment, like a bisphosphonate, sufficient daily calcium is important for achieving not only the full benefit of their osteoporosis therapy, but for supporting optimal functioning of several other body systems as well," said Heaney, holder of the John A. Creighton University Professorship.

The analysis was based on data from six major Phase III osteoporosis trials conducted over the last 10 years which included baseline nutritional assessments of the patients. From these trials, 11,474 postmenopausal women, all with osteoporosis, and with a mean age of 66 years, were included in the analysis.


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