Gerber Funds Yale Study on Dietary Calcium Insufficiency in Inner City Infants
July 7, 2005 — The Gerber Foundation has awarded Yale School of Medicine researcher Thomas Carpenter, M.D., $844,000 over three years to study biomarkers of dietary calcium insufficiency in inner city infants.
Carpenter, professor of endocrinology and pediatrics at Yale, will study the alarming decrease in calcium intake throughout the course of childhood and the continued decrease in calcium intake by children over the past 30 years.
“These trends have disturbing health consequences for both the long and short-term,” said Carpenter. “Impairment of optimal bone mineral strength during the growing years results in significant risks for osteoporosis later in life. A more immediate consequence of limited calcium in infants is the development of bone diseases like rickets, which has been increasingly reported in the United States.”
Carpenter and his research team will perform an extensive biochemical nutrition screening of 800, 12- to 36-month-old children in inner city New Haven. These will take place at well-child visits to neighborhood health clinics over a two and a half-year enrollment period.
The goal of the study is to provide data to establish dietary guidelines for calcium in infants below age three. “We predict a 10 to 20 percent prevalence of abnormal biomarkers in our sample,” said Carpenter.