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What do we currently know about nutrition and bone health in relation to United Kingdom public health policy with particular reference to calcium and vitamin D?

  • R. M. Francis (a1)
Abstract

Public health policy in the UK related to nutrition and bone health has been shaped by reports from the Department of Health (DH), Food Standards Agency and WHO. Dietary reference values (DRV) for a number of nutrients were published in 1991 by the DH Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy. The subsequent DH report on nutrition and bone health in 1998 concentrated particularly on Ca and vitamin D, but also briefly addressed the effect of body weight, alcohol and other nutrients. Although this reviewed more recent evidence relating to the effect of higher intakes of Ca and vitamin D from longitudinal and interventional studies, no changes were made to the existing DRV. The Food Standards Agency published a report from their Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals in 2003, which recommended safe upper limits for eight vitamins and minerals, with guidance provided on a further twenty-two nutrients, where there was less information on safety. The WHO report on diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases in 2003 addressed the prevention of osteoporosis, making recommendations on Ca, vitamin D, Na, fruit and vegetables, alcohol and body weight. The present paper examines current views on what constitutes an adequate dietary Ca intake and optimal vitamin D status, the DRV for vitamin D in subjects with little or no exposure to sunlight and the results of recent epidemiological studies on the relationship between fracture risk and body weight, alcohol intake and the consumption of other nutrients.

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Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Professor R. M. Francis, fax +44 191 223 1161, email RMFrancis@compuserve.com
References
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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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