Millions of people around the world may be at risk of osteoporosis, an interactive map about global calcium intake intake has revealed.
The mineral, found in milk, cheese and yoghurt, is essential for bone health and a deficiency can lead to the agonising condition.
However, global data shows just 21 countries – mostly in Europe – are getting the recommended daily levels of calcium in their diet.
The two most populated countries in the world, China and India, had intake levels at less than half of what health chiefs advise. The UK and US had recommended intakes of calcium.
Nepal in Asia was found to be the worst offender – having an intake of calcium seven times lower than the amount in Iceland.
Every country sets its own medical guidelines on how much calcium people should incorporate into their diet each day.
The International Osteoporosis Foundation, who made the new map, recommend a daily intake of between 800 and 1,000mg a day.
In Britain, health chiefs urge people to consume 700mg daily while in the US the amount is as much as 1,000mg a day.
The IOF’s map, which presents data from 74 countries, reflects the findings of the agency’s recent study into estimated calcium intakes.
Professor Bess Dawson-Hughes, chair of the IOF Calcium Steering Committee, said: ‘Increasing calcium intake throughout the lifespan is an important strategy to improve bone health.
‘We encourage people of all ages to meet their calcium intake requirements by consuming a variety of calcium-rich foods.
‘For people who may not be able to get enough calcium through their diets, calcium supplementation may be needed to reach the intake requirement of 800 to 1,000 mg/day.
‘This is particularly important for older adults who do not consume enough calcium-rich foods.
The mineral, found in milk, cheese and yoghurt, is considered essential for bone health and a deficiency can lead to the agonising condition