Fruit and vegetable intakes are an independent predictor of bone size in early pubertal children1-3

Frances A. Tylavsky, Katherine Holliday, Robert Danish, Catherine Womack, John Norwood, Laura Carbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Background: Adequate intakes of fruit and vegetables are recommended for optimum health in children. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether consuming fruit and vegetables >3 times per day is beneficial to bone mass in children. Design: Fifty-six white females (Tanner stage 2) recorded dietary intake on 3 independent days. The numbers of servings of fruit and vegetables were recorded for each day and tallied, and the subjects were divided into 2 consumption groups for analysis (low consumption: <3 servings/d, n = 22; high consumption: ≥3 servings/d, n = 34). Bone area and the bone mineral content of the whole body and radius were assessed by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Radioimmunoassays measured serum parathyroid hormone and 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Twenty-four-hour urine samples were assessed for calcium, sodium, and creatinine. Results: After adjustment for age, body mass index, and physical activity, those children who reported consuming ≥3 servings fruit and vegetables/d had more bone area of the whole body (6.0%; P = 0.03) and radius (8.3%; P = 0.03), lower urinary calcium excretion (2.6 ± 0.2 compared with 1.8 ± 0.3 mg/kg; P = 0.04), and lower parathyroid hormone (19.6 ± 1.9 compared with 25.0 ± 1.6 pg/mL; P = 0.01) than did those children who reported consuming <3 servings fruit and vegetables/d. Conclusions: High fruit and vegetable intakes have beneficial effects on the bone area of the radius and whole body in early pubertal girls. The lower urinary calcium output associated with higher fruit and vegetable intakes may be a modulating factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-317
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone mass
  • Children
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
  • Urinary calcium excretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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