• asian americans;
  • calcium requirements;
  • calcium kinetics;
  • adolescents


Calcium requirements of North American adolescents were set at 1300 mg/day based on data from white girls. Calcium requirements for Asian-American adolescents have not been studied. Using metabolic balance protocols and a range in calcium intakes, skeletal calcium retention was determined in Chinese-American adolescents. A sample of 29 adolescents, 15 boys aged 12 to 15 years and 14 girls aged 11 to 15 years, was studied twice on paired calcium intakes ranging between 629 to 1835 mg/day using a randomized-order crossover design. Calcium absorption and bone turnover rates using double-stable calcium isotope kinetic analysis on two calcium intakes per subject were measured and compared in boys and girls. Girls and boys had low habitual mean calcium intakes of 648 and 666 mg/day, respectively, and low mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of 19.1 and 22.2 ng/mL, respectively. True fractional calcium absorption varied inversely with calcium load. Boys had significantly higher bone turnover rate than girls at the same calcium intake. Calcium retention increased with calcium intake; calcium intakes to achieve maximal calcium retention were 1100 mg/day in boys and 970 mg/day in girls. Recommendations for calcium requirements should be lowered for Chinese-American adolescents. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research