Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On

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THURSDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Having two or more servings of dairy products a day starting as a preschooler may lead to better bone health as an adolescent, a new report says.

The study, expected to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics, found higher levels of bone mineral content and bone density in teens who consumed dairy at least twice a day since the ages of 3 to 5. These adolescents' average bone mineral content was 175 grams higher than adolescents who had consumed less than two dairy servings a day, even after researchers adjusted the results for factors that affect normal bone development, such as the child's growth, body size, and activity level.

The study highlights the significant role dairy plays in childhood as "a key source of proteins, calcium, and other micronutrients including phosphorus and vitamin D," study researcher Lynn Moore, of Boston University School of Medicine, said in a news release issued by the journal.

The researchers also found that children who combined their 2 or more servings of dairy with 4 ounces of meat or other nondairy protein during a day had bone mineral contents more than 300 grams higher than those children with lower intakes of both dairy and other proteins.

The findings come from analyzing data and family food diaries from the Framingham Children's Study, which gathered information from 106 children, 3 to 5 years of age at the beginning of the study, over a 12-year period. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was also used to determine the children's average daily intake of dairy and other foods.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about bone health.

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