Models for Nutrition Education to Increase Consumption of Calcium and Dairy Products among African Americans

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

The Journal of Nutrition

Publication Date


Date Added



Calcium and dairy consumption are documented to be low among African Americans and have demonstrated benefits to bone growth, overall nutritional status, and health throughout the life cycle. There is also an emerging relationship to the prevention of obesity. This low consumption has been attributed to both cultural and community/environmental barriers. Using a life course construct and an ecological model of health behavior, this paper will illustrate why nutrition education and food consumption behavior at one stage of the life cycle may influence health status at that stage as well as influence health and consumption of calcium and dairy products at subsequent stages. The life course construct recognizes that both past and present behavior and experiences (in this case food and nutrient intake) are shaped by the wider social, economic, and cultural context and therefore may provide clues to current patterns of health and disease. The ecological model, concerned with constructs of environmental change, behavior, and policies that may help people make choices in their daily life, complements the life course approach when examining the potential influence of nutrition education provided by federally funded food and nutrition programs on calcium and dairy consumption behavior across the life cycle. The “critical period model” within the life course construct is operative for calcium, a nutrient for which adequate intake is critically important during adolescence when peak bone density development, necessary for later protection against osteoporosis, is important






Public Health

Comments/Extra Notes

Additional authors: Rowel, Randolph H.; Sydnor, Kim L.; Divers, Shaquana P.