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.