Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on calcium supplements and dairy products for changes in body weight and obesity indices

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Aug;72(5):615-631. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2020.1856794. Epub 2020 Dec 8.


This meta-analysis was performed to investigate whether calcium supplements and dairy products change obesity indices including fat mass. Original articles published in English between July 2009 and August 2019 were identified. Ten and 14 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with ≥ 12 weeks interventions of calcium supplements and dairy products among overweight or obese adults aged ≥18 were critically reviewed. Mean difference (MD) or standardised mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI) were obtained using a random effect meta-analysis. Dairy products significantly changed fat mass (SMD, 95% CI; -0.40 [-0.77, -0.02]) and BMI (MD, 95% CI: -0.46 kg/m2 [-0.67, -0.26]), and calcium supplements also showed changes in fat mass (SMD, 95% CI; -0.15[-0.28, -0.02]). However, in the analysis of RCTs with low risk of bias scores, the significant changes remained only in the dairy-products intervention. Our findings suggest that dairy products without distinction of fat percentage may help reduce fat mass and BMI, but calcium supplements may not.

Keywords: Meta-analysis; body mass index; calcium intake; dietary factor; fat mass; obesity.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Body Weight*
  • Calcium* / administration & dosage
  • Dairy Products*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Obesity* / therapy
  • Overweight / therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Calcium