Reconstruction of past calcium intake patterns during adulthood

J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Jun;93(6):649-52. doi: 10.1016/0002-8223(93)91670-l.


This study illustrates a cognitive recall method based on time lines and retrieval cues to reconstruct the patterns of use of selected dairy products as important calcium sources. We administered a semiquantitative retrospective instrument that assessed past intakes of milk, milk-based chocolate beverages, and cheese to 35 healthy women aged 50 to 65 years. The recall time line for each subject began at the age of 20 and continued forward to the interview. Thirty-one women reported a change in calcium intake from the baseline level at age 20. Seventeen had changed their intake by more than 50%. Milk was the food item the most subject to change. The magnitude of change along the time line was quite important as intraindividual intakes differed by 100 to 300 mg of calcium per day in 11 women and differed by more than 300 mg of calcium per day in 12 others. After age 50 there was an upward trend in calcium use, which coincides with higher calcium requirements after menopause. Health concerns and food preferences were the prominent motives that triggered changes. The findings suggest that the cognitive recall method could provide necessary information on lifelong food patterns implicated in chronic disease development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cacao
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Cheese
  • Dairy Products
  • Diet Records
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Calcium, Dietary