Background: It has been suggested that increased calcium intake plays a role in preventing obesity and promoting weight loss.
Objectives: To assess the association between calcium intake, body mass index and waist circumference in Israel.
Methods: MABAT was a cross-sectional survey based on a random sample of 3246 Israelis aged 25 to 64. Of the 3246 survey participants, height and weight measurements were recorded for 2782 (1371 men and 1411 women). These were divided into three groups according to their BMI (group A < or = 24.9, group B 25-29.9, and group C > or = 30) and given a 24 hour dietary recall questionnaire. Waist circumference was measured in 2601 participants (1760 men and 841 women) and was considered to be excessive if > or = 102 cm for men or > or = 88 cm for women.
Results: The mean calcium intake was 511.5 +/- 301.8 mg for group A, 499.4 +/- 283.7 mg for group B, and 464.7 +/- 280.1 mg for group C (group A significantly differed from group C, P < 0.002). The mean daily milk consumption in group A was higher than in groups B and C (103.4 +/- 147.5, 85.7 +/- 122.25, and 84.5 +/- 135.1 g, respectively; P< 0.01). There was no correlation between daily dietary calcium intake and waist circumference for men, but women with a waist circumference below 88 cm consumed significantly more dietary calcium than those with a waist circumference > or = 88 cm (P< 0.03).
Conclusions: The study confirms the inverse relationship between daily dietary calcium intake and obesity. This linkage relates to the intake of milk, but not to other dairy products.