Purdue researchers recruiting tween girls for two calcium studies

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Department of Foods and Nutrition is currently seeking girls in fourth through sixth grades to take part in two clinical studies involving calcium and dairy consumption.

The first study will test the effect of a particular type of carbohydrate on calcium absorption. Between 15-20 girls are needed for the study.

“These kinds of carbs are found naturally in many foods, such as bananas,” said Berdine Martin, senior research associate. “The theory is that such foods may increase fermentation in the gut and possibly aid in the absorption of several minerals, including calcium.”

Children who participate in the study will be required to visit Purdue twice. The visits will take place at least three weeks apart, and each will last between six and eight hours. The department will provide the children’s meals for the day, plus breakfast for the following day at no cost. While at Purdue, the students will be administered a calcium absorption test. Monetary compensation also will be provided for each visit.

The deadline to enroll in this study is June 15.

A second clinical study will explore the benefits of added dairy consumption on the bone health of both normal weight and overweight fourth- to sixth-grade girls. Half of the participants will be asked to consume three extra servings of dairy per day throughout the 18-month study. The products will be provided at no cost, but parents will need to pick the groceries up at local distribution sites every two weeks.

Participants also will be required to make four clinical visits to either Purdue or the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis during the study. The program is open to female students statewide, who also will receive monetary reimbursement for the clinical visits. Parents will receive reimbursement for picking up the dairy products and transporting students to the clinical sites. At the end of the trial, each girl will receive a DVD of educational computer games developed at Purdue.

“We need 250 girls for this study, so we hope people will consider it,” Martin said. “We realize that people will not want to drive very far, so we are making every effort to secure dairy pick-up sites that will be convenient for families around the state.”

Martin said she will be actively recruiting for the dairy consumption study over the next six months.

The Purdue University Institutional Review Board for Protection of Human Subjects has approved both studies.

For more information or to register for either study, contact Martin toll-free at (800) 830-0175.

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