Researchers have found that calcium and vitamin D deficiencies lead to a higher risk of osteoporosis and poor bone health.
For the findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the research team examined inadequate nutrient intake and its relationship to poor bone health, specifically the risk of osteoporosis.
The team examined the relationship between markers of poverty with calcium and vitamin D intake and osteoporosis in Americans, 50 years and older.
“This study continues to demonstrate how prevalent nutrient deficiency is among the US population, and even more so, among lower-income individuals and those with food insecurities,” said Susan Hazels Mitmesser from Pharmavite LLC, the makers of nature made vitamins, minerals and supplements, who conducted the study.
“Yet, we know that nutrient adequacy is imperative in supporting overall health and wellness, including immune health, at a time when that is heavy on everyone’s mind,” she added.
According to the study, 25 per cent of older US people live below the poverty line. Within this population, 68 per cent have inadequate calcium intake, and 46 per cent have inadequate vitamin D intake. Gender, ethnic, and socio-economic differences impact the overall risk for inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake and subsequent osteoporosis risk, as seen in some of the study key findings.
The findings also showed that US women over the age of 50 consistently have inadequate calcium intake, regardless of their economic status.
Inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D affects poverty-stricken men more than women with respect to osteoporosis risk.
It has been estimated in the US population aged 50 and older, about 10.2 million suffer from osteoporosis, and 80 per cent of these affected cases are females.
In addition, there are potentially 43.4 million people, or 44 per cent of the population with osteopenia, which is a bone condition that often leads to osteoporosis.
“Improving the consumption of nutrient-rich and fortified foods among individuals that live in poverty can help to decrease their chances of developing osteoporosis,” the study authors wrote.
“Additionally, dietary supplements can play a critical role in helping any underserved population meet their nutrition needs,” they noted.