DC – Parents are advised to make sure their children drink milk and eat
other calcium-rich foods to build strong bones. Soon, they also may be urged to
make sure their kids eat salmon, almonds and other foods high in magnesium —
another nutrient that may play an important role in bone health, according to a
study to be presented Sunday, May 5, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual
meeting in Washington, DC.
“Lots of nutrients are key for
children to have healthy bones. One of these appears to be magnesium,” said
lead author Steven A. Abrams MD, FAAP, professor of pediatrics at Baylor
College of Medicine in Houston. “Calcium is important, but, except for those
children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than
While it is known that magnesium is
important for bone health in adults, few studies have looked at whether
magnesium intake and absorption are related to bone mineral content in young
children. This study aimed to fill that gap.
Researchers recruited 63 healthy
children ages 4 to 8 years old who were not
taking any multivitamins or minerals to participate in the study. Children were
hospitalized overnight twice so their calcium and magnesium levels could be
filled out food diaries prior to hospitalization. All foods and beverages served during their hospital stay contained
the same amount of calcium and
magnesium they consumed in a typical day based on the diaries. Foods and
beverages were weighed before and after each meal to determine how much calcium
and magnesium the subjects actually consumed. In addition, parents were given
scales to weigh their child’s food for three days at home after the first
inpatient stay and for three days at home prior to the second inpatient stay so
that dietary intake of calcium and magnesium could be calculated accurately.
hospitalized, children’s levels of calcium and magnesium were measured using a
technique that involved giving them non-radioactive forms of magnesium and
calcium, called stable isotopes, intravenously and orally. Urine was collected
for 72 hours. By measuring the stable isotopes in the urine, the researchers
could determine how much calcium and magnesium were absorbed into the body. Bone
mineral content and density were measured using total body dual-energy X-ray
Results showed that the amounts of magnesium
consumed and absorbed were key predictors of how much bone children had. Dietary
calcium intake, however, was not significantly associated with total bone
mineral content or density.
“We believe it is important for
children to have a balanced, healthy diet with good sources of minerals,
including both calcium and magnesium,” Dr. Abrams concluded.
information or to schedule an interview with Dr. Abrams, email email@example.com
or call 713/798-7124 before the PAS meeting or 713/822-2613 during the meeting.
the abstract, “Magnesium but Not Calcium Intake Is Significantly Associated
with Bone Mineral Status in 4 to 8 Year Old Children,” go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS13L1_2715.3.
Academic Societies (PAS) are four individual pediatric organizations that
co-sponsor the PAS Annual Meeting – the American Pediatric Society, the Society
for Pediatric Research, the Academic Pediatric Association, and the American
Academy of Pediatrics. Members of these organizations are pediatricians and
other health care providers who are practicing in the research, academic and
clinical arenas. The four sponsoring organizations are leaders in the
advancement of pediatric research and child advocacy within pediatrics, and all
share a common mission of fostering the health and well-being of children worldwide. For more information, visit www.pas-meeting.org. Follow news of the PAS meeting on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PedAcadSoc.