A randomized clinical trial of dietary calcium to improve bone accretion in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

J Pediatr. 2006 Apr;148(4):501-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2005.11.043.


Objective: To examine a behavioral intervention (BI) to increase calcium intake in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) on calcium intake and bone mass 6 and 12 months after treatment.

Study design: A randomized trial compared a 6-session BI to a 3-session enhanced standard of care (ESC) with 49 children ages 4 to 10 years with JRA. Calcium intake was assessed via 3-day diet diaries. Total body bone mineral content (BMC), arms and legs BMC, and lumbar spine bone mineral density were assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Results: BI maintained an average calcium intake of 1500 mg/d at 6- and 12-month follow-up. This was greater than their baseline level of 972 mg/d, but not greater than the intake of 1300 mg/day maintained by ESC (P=.09). The BI had a 4% and 2.9% greater gain in total body bone mineral content than ESC at 6 and 12 months, respectively (P=.005), and a 7.1% and 5.3% greater gain in arms and legs BMC at 6 and 12 months than ESC (P=.0007).

Conclusions: BI is effective in increasing calcium intake and BMC in children with JRA over a 12-month period.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / complications
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / diet therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Bone Density
  • Calcifediol / blood
  • Calcium, Dietary / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Parenting
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Psychotherapy, Group


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Calcifediol