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Trends in calcium and vitamin D usage among older people in nursing care facilities in Australia: still falling short of the guidelines

Authors

  • Lídia SÀNCHEZ RIERA,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Nicholas M. WILSON,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Philip N. SAMBROOK,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Cindy KOK,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Robert G. CUMMING,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Ian D. CAMERON,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Jian Sheng CHEN,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Judy SIMPSON,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Rebecca S. MASON,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Markus J. SEIBEL,

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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  • Lynn M. MARCH

    1. Rheumatology Department, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Building 35, Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, 2010, Australia
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: Nicholas M Wilson, Department of Rheumatology, Building 35 Level 4, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia. Email: nwil2076@usyd.edu.au.

Abstract

Objective:  To determine the impact of awareness-raising strategies of calcium and vitamin D supplements in the active management of bone health of older people living in nursing care facilities in Australia.

Design:  We compared data drawn from two prospective cohort studies that have evaluated falls and fractures in older people living in hostels (intermediate care facilities): the FREE study (conducted from 1996–2002, n = 1107) and the ongoing FREEDOM study (commenced in 2006, n = 1284 screened individuals). Both studies recruited older people living in a large number of nursing care facilities in northern Sydney (Australia).

Results:  We found a small but significant increase in both calcium and vitamin D supplementation in the FREEDOM study participants compared to those in the FREE study. Calcium alone increased from 6.2% to 10.5% (P = 0.0002), vitamin D alone from 5.8% to 7.9% (P = 0.04) and the combined use of calcium and vitamin D increased from 1.6% to 11.9% (P < 0.0001).

Conclusion:  There appears to be increasing awareness of the need for calcium and vitamin D supplementation in older people in nursing care facilities. However, given the high prevalence of osteoporosis and vitamin D deficiency among this population, the levels of supplementation achieved must still be considered suboptimal for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and falls.

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