Calcium Metabolism in Mexican American Adolescents

  • Cristina PalaciosEmail author
  • Connie M. Weaver


Hispanics are a growing segment of the US population and will soon comprise one-fourth of the population. Mexican Americans (MA) are the majority of Hispanics in the USA. MA have been reported in some studies to have significant differences in several health outcomes that could impact calcium metabolism. Determining racial differences is imperative as this information can then be used to make racial- and ethnic-specific recommendations for behavior changes to reduce risk of osteoporosis, particularly during adolescence, the period of rapid bone accumulation that accounts for up to half of adult peak bone mass. Calcium intake is critical for adequate bone mineralization and increases in calcium intake result in higher bone mass, which, if sustained, may result in a lower risk of osteoporotic bone fracture later in life. Determining the influence of calcium intake on calcium retention and bone metabolism requires metabolic studies on a range of calcium intakes. Here we describe metabolic studies conducted in MA, white, black, and Asian adolescents while consuming controlled diets with various levels of calcium intakes. Our results showed that Mexican American girls had higher calcium retention compared to white girls but similar to Asians and blacks. However, Mexican American boys had similar calcium retention compared to white, Asian, and black boys. Future work is needed to calculate the minimal calcium intake leading to the maximal calcium retention in this group, kinetic analysis, and multiple regression models to quantify the effects of calcium intake, race/ethnic group, sex, sexual maturity, body composition, and hormonal and bone biomarkers on calcium retention. Our results will allow us to determine if MA adolescents have different calcium needs compared to the other groups studied.


Mexican American Calcium metabolism Calcium intake Calcium excretion Calcium retention Adolescents 



This study was supported by NIH grant # 5R01 HD061908-03


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentSchool of Public Health, University of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition SciencePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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