World Osteoporosis Day: Indians’ calcium intake one of the lowest in world

People in India, like some other countries in Asia-Pacific region including China, Indonesia and Vietnam, have very low calcium intake — less than 400 mg a day, raising the risk of fractures and osteoporosis, according to a new review of the global calcium map.

The findings showed that countries in the next lowest intake categories — 400 to 500 and 500 to 600 mg/day — are clustered in South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil) and scattered throughout the Far East, North Africa and elsewhere.

“Outside of North America and most of Europe, particularly northern Europe, there is lower intake than there should be for good bone health,” said lead author of the review report Ethan Balk, Associate Professor at the Brown University in the US.

Your body needs calcium to make healthy bones. Bones are the main storage site of calcium in the body.

“In many parts of the world, a low average calcium intake may be putting most people at increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis,” Balk added.

For the new study, appearing in the journal Osteoporosis International, the team gathered data sources for many studies that reported national averages of daily calcium intake among adults pertaining to 74 countries.

Southern and eastern Asia had world’s lowest average intakes — often less than 400 mg a day, while only North European countries registered intakes of greater than 1,000 mg a day.

Countries in South America and Africa mostly had average intakes in the middle, between about 400 and 700 mg a day, the report revealed.

The findings would motivate action to promote increased calcium consumption, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and in places where it hadn’t been documented, the researchers said.

“This work draws attention to regions where calcium intake needs to be assessed and where measures to increase calcium intake are likely to have skeletal benefits,” Balk noted.

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