Using Calcium and Dairy Products in Controlling Obesity

Subject: Nutrition
Pages: 4
Words: 1378
Reading time:
6 min

Project Overview

This project proposal is about research to study the effects of incorporating calcium and dairy products in diets of preschool children on body weight regulation. The project will identify 111 preschool children, who are obese, from a pediatric unit of various hospitals in Wisconsin, and my colleagues and I will email their parents to ask for permission to enroll their children as subjects in the study. Anthropometric indexes of the participants will be taken prior to and after the trial. Dietary calcium and dairy products represent the intervention in this study. The participants will be divided into study and control groups. Standard devices for measuring anthropometric indexes will be necessary, and a supply of calcium-rich foods and dairy products.


There is a consistent relationship between the intake of calcium in the diet and the weight of children (Loan 120). With obesity being an issue of concern in America, this research offers options from prevention rather than treatment of the problem.


This project will help confirm the effects of using calcium and dairy products in controlling obesity and motivate residents to take control of their weight. Obesity is a primary public health issue in the U.S. (Loan 120). Approximately 17% of children between 2 and 19 years old in the U.S. are obese (Spence, Cifelli, and Miller 40). Evolution in physical activity and eating habits are the major causal factor in the high prevalence of childhood obesity. Especially, the displacement of nutritious foods and beverages with non-nutritious foods has influenced childhood obesity, considerably.

Craigie, Lake, and Kelly argue that childhood obesity has social, psychological, and physical distresses on the obese child (687). Childhood obesity increases the risks of adulthood obesity accompanied by the risks of untimely mortality attributable to complex diseases.

Spence et al., (40) argue that majority of children do not eat a serving of the standard food groups stipulated in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This trend has led to the incorporation of inadequate intake of vitamins and essential minerals, especially calcium. Advocates of healthy living have focused majorly on decreasing intake of energy and/or expenditure of energy for maintenance of weight. However, a prospective effective role of dairy products and calcium in weight regulation has dawned.

Research by Gonzalez-Suarez, Worley, and Grimmer-Somers proves that interventions focusing on eating habits can achieve positive outcomes in childhood obesity prevention or treatment (419). Another study by Barba and Russo has revealed an association between consumption of dairy products and regulation of body weight (446). The identification of biological mechanism for the mentioned association arose the interest in the relationship between calcium intake and fat accumulation. A set of cross-sectional studies have promoted the assumption that a diet rich in dairy products reduces the accumulation of fat in the body although the results have been inconsistent (Barba et al., 447).

Understanding the follow-up of dietary intake between childhood and adulthood can disclose the childhood determinants of childhood obesity continuation into adulthood (Carruth, and Skinner 560). This evidence of follow-up may provide insight into the design of an intervention that targets to prevent the retaining of childhood obesity into adulthood. This paper discusses a project to substitute the existing diet of obese preschool children with calcium and dairy products to establish whether it can help in alleviating the risks of childhood obesity. Particularly, this project intends to find out if consuming sufficient calcium and dairy products can reduce body fats of preschool children than when they consume less calcium and dairy product.

Once this project proves this hypothesis it will decrease the childhood obesity epidemic in the country, Carruth, and Skinner (560). Subsequently, this will reduce the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. The health expenditures of parents and the government will fall by a significant margin.

In light of increased premature deaths because of obesity, this project will promote maintenance of a balanced population distribution, which is imperative in the running of the economy of a country, as an aging population means increased reliance on the government and community at large. A sustained large number of workers helps in running the economy of a country. Reduced premature deaths because of obesity-related health conditions, maintains a steady supply of workers necessary for sustaining a country’s economy.

Research Plan


To answer the mentioned hypothesis we will first seek approval of ethical society in the state before the start of the study. Once we obtain a permit to conduct the research, we will use it to convince the hospitals and parents to give us permission to view their pediatric records and include the children in the study respectively. My colleagues and I will visit various hospitals in the state of Wisconsin to identify cases of obese children in the pediatric unit. We will contact the parents of the obese preschool children, and request their consent of participation in the study.

The criteria for choosing participants will be a BMI of more than 27; with the bodyweight indicators described in the table below (Yamborisut, Sakamoto and Wimonpeerapattana e311):

Table 1. The area under a curve of anthropometric indexes of obese preschool children

Parameter Boys Girls
Waist circumference 0.992 +/- 0.006 0.988 +/- 0.009
WHR 0.823 +/- 0.052 0.725 +/- 0.062
WHtR 0.989 +/- 0.008 0.988 +/- 0.011
Trunk Skin-fold 0.987 +/- 0.022 0.981 +/- 0.016

WHR: waist-to-hip ratio

WHtR: waist-to-height ratio


After receiving consent of participation, we will randomly assign the participants into study and control groups. We will assign 54 participants to the study group and 57 to the control group. We would go to the homes of the participants and measure their anthropometric indexes. My colleagues and I will divide into groups of two to perform the exercise at various homes simultaneously to save time.

Study Design

We will employ a prospective cohort study to verify this hypothesis. We will give calcium and dairy products rations to supply the recommended 3 servings daily to the study group in consistence with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid (Barba and Russo 449). The control group will be asked to maintain their current diet. We will provide these supplies to the participants in the study group on weekly basis to prevent wastage. These foods include milk, Swiss cheese, Yogurt, Sardine oil, Soybean Curd, Turnip greens, and Kale.

After providing the study group with the dietary interventions, we will follow up on the study and control group over a period of one year to determine the outcome of the study (Riegelman 89). We will conduct a quarterly evaluation to ascertain the subject’s adherence to the dietary plan we have set and disqualify a non-compliant subject.

Broader Impacts

When the public will learn of the weight benefits of calcium and dairy products, they will be motivated to shift their dietary pattern to incorporate sufficient calcium and dairy products. Increased consumption of dairy products and foods rich in calcium will mean improved business for farmers and fish companies. Eventually, this trend will lead to a healthy working nation and ultimate growth in the economy as absenteeism and job stress will fall because of the enhanced health of preschool children. Parents will not have to worry about their preschool children.

The outcomes of this knowledge will prove that calcium and dairy products help in weight regulation. Consequently, further studies to identify the mechanism involved in weight regulation will commence. Enlightenment on the mechanism of weight regulation may provide the basis for designing drug intervention to combat the obesity epidemic worldwide and the associated premature mortality.


The following describes the anticipated expenditures of the project for the two months of study:



Task Time
Identification of study and control group 5-18 February, 2013
Administering intervention to study group 25 Feb -11 March, 2013
Follow-up to confirm adherence to study plan 1 – 14 May, 2013
Follow-up to confirm adherence to study plan 13 – 26 July, 2013
Follow-up to confirm adherence to study plan 23 September– 7 October
Retaking of anthropometric indexes 14 – 28 March
Analysis and interpretation of study 5 – 19 June
Publication 27 June – 2 August


Barba, Giavincenzo and Paola Russo. “Dairy Foods, Dietary Calcium and Obesity: A Short Review of the Evidence.” Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases 16 (2005): 445-51.

Carruth, B. Ruth and Skinner Jean. The Role of Dietary Calcium and Other Nutrients in Moderating Body Fat in Preschool Children. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001, 25:559-566

Craigie, Angela M, et al. “Tracking of Obesity-related Behaviors from Childhood to Adulthood: A Sytematic Review.” Maturitas (2011): 266-284.

Gonzalez-Suarez, C, et al. “School Based Interventions on Childhood Obesity: A Meta-analysis.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 37 (2009): 418-27.

Loan, Marta. “The Role of Dairy Foods and Dietary Calcium in Weight Management.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2009, Suppl 1:120S-9S. Print.

Riegelman, Richard K. Studying a Study & Testing a Test: How to Read the Medical Evidence, Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005. Print.

Spence, Lisa A, Christopher J Cifelli and Gregory D Miller. “The Role of Dairy Products in Healthy Weight and Body Composition in Children and Adolescents.” Curr Nutr Food Sci 7.1 (2011): 40-49. Print.

Yamborisut, Uruwan, et al. “Waist Circumference and Body Fat Distribution Indexes as Screening Tools For The Overweight and Obesity in Thai Preschool Children.” Obesity Research and Clinical Practice 4 (2010): e307-14. Print.