Aim: Calcium intake in developing countries is lower than that in developed countries. In Iran, inadequate calcium intake in the general population, especially among women, is a public health concern. This cross-sectional study examined the correlation between sociodemographic, obstetrical and lifestyle factors with calcium intake among pregnant women in Rafsanjan city, southeast Iran.
Material and Methods: A sample of 308 healthy pregnant women aged 18–35 years from seven urban health-care centers participated in the study. All women were measured for height and weight and interviewed for demographic and socioeconomic, obstetrical, lifestyle and dietary intake information while pre-pregnancy weight was obtained from prenatal record. Stepwise multiple regression was used to assess factors associated with calcium intake.
Results: The mean daily calcium intake of women was 968.51 ± 363.05 mg/day and only 46.4% of the pregnant women met the dietary reference intakes of 1000 mg for calcium. Milk and milk products showed the greatest contribution to calcium intake (75.11%). Energy-adjusted calcium intake was positively associated with years of schooling (P < 0.01), calorie (P < 0.01) and energy-adjusted sodium (P < 0.01) intakes.
Conclusion: This information would be useful in planning and developing appropriate strategies to improve calcium intake in pregnant women. Efforts to increase calcium intake in pregnant women should focus on promoting nutrient-dense food and making these foods available and accessible, particularly to socioeconomically deprived women.