Perspectives on intake of calcium-rich foods among Asian, Hispanic, and white preadolescent and adolescent females

Garry Auld, Carol J. Boushey, Margaret Ann Bock, Christine Bruhn, Kathe Gabel, Deborah Gustafson, Betty Holmes, Scottie Misner, Rachel Novotny, Louise Peck, Susanne Pelican, Dorothy Pond-Smith, Marsha Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objective: Declining calcium intake among adolescents warrants attention. Our objective was to identify influences on adolescents' consumption of calcium-rich foods. Design: Focus groups were conducted with girls representing 2 age groups (11 to 12 or 16 to 17 years) and 3 macroethnic groups (Asian, Hispanic, or white). Setting: Public schools in 10 states. Participants: A convenience sample (n = 200) was recruited through schools. Variables Measured: Focus groups (n = 35) were audiotaped and transcribed. Influences relative to consumption of milk or other calcium-rich foods were identified. Analysis: Comments were coded as motivators or barriers within each focus group. Content analysis procedures were used to compare ethnic and age groups. Results: A barrier to milk consumption that was more common among older girls and Asian groups was the limited expectation within families for drinking milk. Many controlled their own beverage choices, and milk, even if liked, was only one option. Milk was positively associated with strength and bone health, but these attributes were viewed as being more important for boys than girls. Milk was associated with breakfast, school lunches, cereal, and desserts. White girls had the most positive reactions to milk and Hispanic girls the most negative. All groups were positive toward pizza, ice cream, and cheese. Conclusions and Implications: To improve calcium intake among teens, interventions should include a family component, stress the benefits of milk for girls, and focus on breakfast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-251
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Adolescence
  • Calcium
  • Milk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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