Purpose: To update knowledge on dietary calcium intake in the Italian population, focusing on subjects of any age over 18 years.
Methods: Data were collected through consecutive surveys, carried out from 2013 to 2018 in several Italian cities, during screening events intended to promote bone health among the Italian population. A Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), validated for the assessment of the intake of calcium and nutrients for bone health in adults, was administered to subjects to estimate calcium intake in all groups.
Results: Out of a total of 1821 FFQs filled in, 1801 provided all the information necessary for the evaluation of calcium intake (being correctly completed and indicating gender and age). Median values were significantly lower than the Italian population reference intake (PRI) values in women of all ages (range: 792 to 854.1 mg/day) and in men aged 60-74 years (854 mg/day) and over 75 years (832.1 mg/day). Young adult males (18-29 years) and adult males (30-59 years) consumed calcium in quantities close to the recommended amounts.
Conclusions: These results are in line with what has already been observed in subsets of the Italian population. For this reason, it is once again appropriate to reiterate the need to plan suitable campaigns to spread information and provide guidelines on adequate nutrition able to guarantee correct calcium intake.
KEY WORDS: Calcium, FFQs, calcium intake, bone health