Objective: To identify correlates of calcium, dairy, and milk intakes among male and female adolescents.
Design: Cross-sectional study design. Adolescents self-reported measures pertaining to correlates on the Project EAT (Eating Among Teens) survey and completed a food frequency questionnaire at school.
Subjects/setting: Subjects were a total of 4,079 middle and high school students from Minneapolis/St Paul, MN, public schools.
Statistical analyses performed: Multiple linear regression models based on social cognitive theory were examined by sex.
Results: Male adolescents reported higher daily intakes of calcium (male: 1,217+/-663 mg; female: 1,035+/-588 mg; P<0.001), dairy servings (male: 2.9+/-1.9; female: 2.4+/-1.7; P<0.001), and milk servings (male: 2.0+/-1.5; female: 1.5+/-1.4; P<0.001) than female adolescents. Calcium intakes of male adolescents were significantly and positively related to availability of milk at meals, taste preference for milk, eating breakfast, higher socioeconomic status, and social support for healthful eating; intakes were significantly and inversely related to consumption of soft drinks and fast food. Among female adolescents, availability of milk at meals, taste preference for milk, eating breakfast, higher socioeconomic status, personal health/nutrition attitudes, and self-efficacy to make healthful food choices were significantly and positively related to intakes; intakes were significantly and inversely related to fast-food consumption. Models of calcium intake explained 71% of the variance in male adolescents and 72% of the variance in female adolescents.
Conclusions: Multicomponent interventions with a focus on the family environment are likely to be most effective in increasing calcium intakes among adolescents.