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February 2008

Exercise and Dietary Calcium Interact in Building Strong Bones

Weight-bearing exercise and sufficient dietary calcium during growth are inexpensive lifestyle factors that may contribute to woman walkingskeletal strength. However, the relative importance of impact exercise and dietary calcium on weight-bearing bones during growth is controversial. A research study by Dr. Connie Weaver in the Department of Foods and Nutrition used 40 female rats, about the age of 10-15 year old girls, to test the effects of impact exercise and physiological levels of calcium intakes on the growing skeleton in a highly controlled setting.


The rats used in the study had similar weights and bone length and were fed either 100% or 40% of their calcium requirements. Half of each dietary group was subjected to either impact or no impact exercise. After 8 weeks, the rats’ ulnae were measured and it was determined that those subjected to impact exercise had greater mechanical strength regardless of adequacy of calcium in the diet.

These results appear to refute the suggestion that exercise undertaken while consuming a diet low in calcium (at 40% of recommended amount) can damage the growing skeleton. Recommended amounts of calcium were necessary for the effects of exercise to be maximal.  

Though both impact exercise and dietary calcium are beneficial to growing bones, impact exercise helped protect against disadvantages of inadequate dietary calcium. In rats not subjected to impact exercise sufficient dietary calcium was more important. The worst effects on the skeleton were found by combining a low calcium diet with no exercise. For more information about this study, contact Dr. Connie Weaver at: weavercm@purdue.edu.


F&N Students Preparing for Clinical Nutrition

Students currently taking F & N 520- Medical Nutrition Therapy are participating in a novel pilot teaching project to increase their knowledge and develop skills in providing optimal patient care related to nutrition. 

 The laboratory for MNT allows students to perform patient care rounds similar to those conducted at major teaching hospitals. During patient care rounds, students review a medical chart and interview a mock patient to collect and interpret relevant patient information such as food/nutrition history, biochemical data, medical procedures, anthropometry measurements, physical exam findings, and patient history. This information is used to identify nutrition-related problems and their causes as well as identifying a nutrition diagnosis. Once a student determines a nutrition diagnosis, they use critical thinking skills in choosing an appropriate nutrition intervention which may involve decisions in food and/or nutrient delivery, nutrition education, nutrition counseling, and coordination of nutrition care.  

After their patient care rounds, the students present their patient’s case to fellow classmates at the Patient Care Grand Rounds. Current students enrolled in FN 520 have commented that the new FN 520 lab has been a challenging but highly rewarding experience and that they feel they will be well prepared for clinical rounds in the future. For more information about FN 520, contact Dr. Stacey Mobley at: smobley@purdue.edu.


F&N 530 Students and CFS Extension Partner to Develop Nutrition Education Fact Sheet Series

nutrition labelThe field of nutrition is always changing, how do consumers keep up with the latest recommendations? Nutrition Fact Sheets are resources developed to help consumers answer those questions. Originating as a student project in the Public Health Nutrition course (FN 530), undergraduate students developed four publications that provide consumers with research-based information, dietary recommendations and recipe ideas. The fact sheets were expert reviewed and are now available for the public.

  • Thirsty? Sip on This is a two-page publication that explains beverage basics so consumers can make smart choices when satisfying thirst.
  • A high-sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and kidney disease. What You Need to Know About Sodium publication explains sodium affects health and gives tips for reducing the amount of sodium in the daily diet.
  • One way to give your child the best start in life is by feeding your child smart, from the start. The Feeding Smart from the Start two-page publication has tips for feeding children from newborns to toddlers.
  • A family meal is a place for shared social interaction, a chance to learn and teach, a time to explore food, and a place to build family unity. The final fact sheet, Make Mealtime Family Time is a two-page publication that is full of tips on how to make family mealtimes a habit in the home.

The nutrition fact sheets may be accessed through the following URL addresses:

http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-748-1-W.pdf (Thirsty? Sip on This)
http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-748-2-W.pdf (What You Need to Know About Sodium)
http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-748-3-W.pdf (Feeding Smart from the Start)
http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-748-4-W.pdf (Make Mealtime Family Time)

They are also listed online under Consumer and Family Sciences/Foods and Nutrition at http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/ and on the Foods and Nutrition homepage:


Additional fact sheets will be gradually added over time to create a series of fact sheets and future topic areas will include the F&N department’s signature research areas.  For more information contact Laura Palmer at lpalmer@purdue.edu.


Foods & Nutrition Department
Stone Hall, Room 213
700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN

Phone: (765) 494-8228
Fax: (765) 494-0674

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