Dairy ProductsA recent study reveals that higher level of bone mineral content and bone density was found in adolescents who had consumed two or more servings of dairy products daily early on in life. Dairy is an important component of a healthy and balanced life. Until recently, the contribution of long-term dairy intake to children’s bone health was pretty unclear.

The novel study examines the effect of childhood dairy intake on adolescent bone health including bone density, bone mineral content and bone area. It was conducted by Lynn Moore and colleagues from Boston University School of Medicine. Researchers analyzed data from Framingham Children’s Study. Over a 12 year period, they gathered information from 106 children who were between three to five years of age in the initial stages of the study.

Moore commented, “Children who consumed two or more servings of dairy and four ounces of meat or other non-dairy protein had bone mineral contents over 300 grams higher than those children with lower intakes of both dairy and other proteins. Dairy is a key source of proteins, calcium, and other micronutrients including phosphorus and vitamin D.”

For several days of the year, the enrolled families were handed food dairies to complete for their child. This helped them record almost anything the child ate or drank. This enabled researchers to calculate the children’s average daily intake of dairy and other foods. The data was used along with the information from the US Department of Agriculture.

By the end of the 12-year period, the study participants were now adolescents. An assessment of their bone health was carried out by the authors. The study showed that on comparing adults who had consumed two or more servings of dairy daily with those who did not, had higher levels of bone mineral content and bone density.

Researchers even adjusted for factors that affect normal bone development, including the child’s growth, body size, and activity level. The authors found that these adolescents’ average bone mineral content was 175 grams higher than the adolescents who had consumed less than two servings of dairy products daily.

The combined effects of dairy products and other foods consumed by the participants were further evaluated.

The study is scheduled for publication in The Journal of Paediatrics.