Factors associated with use of calcium and calcium/vitamin D supplements in older mexican Americans: results of the hispanic EPESE study

David V. Espino, S. Liliana Oakes, Kathleen Owings, Kyrakos S. Markides, Robert Wood, Johanna Becho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Current studies indicate that older Mexican Americans take fewer calcium or calcium/vitamin D supplements than do older non-Hispanic whites. Factors associated with calcium supplement use are not completely understood in this ethnic group. Objective: The purpose of this article was to determine the prevalence of calcium or calcium/vitamin D supplementation and factors associated with their use in older Mexican Americans. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a random sample of older Mexican Americans residing in the southwestern United States who had participated in the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly. Self-identified Mexican Americans ≥75 years of age were enrolled through household interviews in 2004-2005. Each subject was asked to bring all prescription and nonprescription medications that they had used regularly during the previous 2 weeks to allow the interviewer to record the product names. Dosages were not recorded. Subjects were assigned to 1 of 3 categories based on their use of calcium or calcium/vitamin D supplements during the previous 2 weeks: (1) calcium supplement only, (2) calcium/vitamin D supplement, or (3) vitamin D supplement only. The subjects' sociodemographic and cultural factors, self-reported health and functional status, cognitive status, number of comorbidities, and use of antiosteoporosis medications were recorded. Results: A total of 2069 older Mexican Americans (1272 women, 797 men; mean age, 81.9 years) were enrolled. The overall prevalence of calcium supplement use was 10.6% (weighted). Calcium supplements were used more often by women (odds ratio [OR] = 1.76; 95% CI, 1.17-2.63), subjects with multiple comorbidities (OR = 1.29; 95% CI, 1.10-1.50), those who interviewed in English (OR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.06-2.40), and those who used antiosteoporosis medications (OR = 3.57; 95% CI, 1.85-6.89). Conclusions: Use of calcium or calcium/vitamin D supplements was low (<60%) among this group of older Mexican Americans. Men are particularly at risk. More should be done to raise awareness regarding the benefits of calcium supplementation in this ethnic group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal Geriatric Pharmacotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Aged
  • Calcium
  • Mexican American
  • Supplement use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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