Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Nutrition and Food Systems

First Advisor

Alicia Sample Landry

Advisor Department

Nutrition and Food Systems


Background: The social, economic, and health impacts of unhealthy dietary behaviors and sedentary lifestyles are quite significant and even more so in the rural South. The majority of individuals in the US do not adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, specifically fruits, vegetables, and calcium.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to address the issue of calcium intake and obesity in a population of primarily African American women in south Mississippi and to determine if levels of calcium intake had a relationship with body mass index.

Methods and Analysis: Data for the current study was collected through the HUB City Steps- A Healthy "U" Begins with Steps program conducted by The University of Southern Mississippi, Department of Nutrition and Food Systems. The multi-component lifestyle intervention lasted 18 months and was divided into two parts: a six month active intervention quasi experimental phase and twelve month maintenance randomized controlled trial phase. The first phase consisted of an intervention that aimed to decrease systolic blood pressure by an increase in physical activity through walking. The second phase consisted of two treatment groups (low or high) of motivational interviewing via telephone over 12 months. Data on outcome measures of body mass index (BMI) and reported dietary calcium intake were analyzed. Both BMI and calcium values were evaluated categorically and continuously. Analyses included correlations between baseline and six month calcium and BMI to see if these variables exhibit significant relationships. Next, a multiple regression analysis was performed to determine if baseline calcium intake could predict baseline or six month BMI.

Results: When correlation between continuous calcium intake and BMI was assessed at zero and six months, results were not significant (p=0.467, p=0.732, respectively). Multiple regression analyses revealed that calcium intake at baseline did not predict BMI at baseline or at six months. Lastly, using categorical calcium intake to predict BMI revealed no significant findings.

Conclusion: More research is needed to determine if a relationship exists between calcium intake and BMI, as well as calcium intake and body composition. Another factor to take into future consideration is the source of calcium in African American women’s diets.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons