Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of postmenopausal weight gain

Bette Caan, Marian Neuhouser, Aaron Aragaki, Cora Beth Lewis, Rebecca Jackson, Meryl S. LeBoff, Karen L. Margolis, Lynda Powell, Gabriel Uwaifo, Evelyn Whitlock, Judy Wylie-Rosett, Andrea LaCroix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity in the United States has increased significantly during the past several decades. The role of calcium in the maintenance of a healthy body weight remains controversial. Methods: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial was performed with 36 282 postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79 years, who were already enrolled in the dietary modification and/or hormone therapy arms of the Women's Health Initiative clinical trial. Women were randomized at their first or second annual visit to receive a dose of 1000 mg of elemental calcium plus 400 IU of cholecalciferol (vitamin D) or placebo daily. Change in body weight was ascertained annually for an average of 7 years. Results: Women receiving calcium plus cholecalciferol supplements vs women receiving placebo had a minimal but consistent favorable difference in weight change (mean difference, ?0.13 kg; 95% confidence interval, ?0.21 to ?0.05; P =.001). After 3 years of follow-up, women with daily calcium intakes less than 1200 mg at baseline who were randomized to supplements were 11% less likely to experience small weight gains (1-3 kg) and 11% less likely to gain more moderate amounts of weight (>3 kg) (P for interaction for baseline calcium intake=.008). Conclusion: Calcium plus cholecalciferol supplementation has a small effect on the prevention of weight gain, which was observed primarily in women who reported inadequate calcium intakes. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00000611

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-902
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of internal medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 14 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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