Childhood dairy intake may benefit adolescent bone health

August 14, 2008

As reported by a study in the Journal of Pediatrics, dairy intake during childhood may have beneficial effects for bone health into adolescence.

As reported by a study in the Journal of Pediatrics, dairy intake during childhood may have beneficial effects for bone health into adolescence.

Researchers analyzed data from 106 children ages 3 to 5 years during a 12-year period, and found that adolescents who had consumed two or more servings of dairy a day as children had higher levels of bone mineral content and bone density. The average bone mineral content of these adolescents was 174 grams higher than adolescents who had consumed less than two servings of dairy a day.

The investigators also found that children who consumed two or more servings of dairy plus 4 ounces of meat or other nondairy protein had 300 mg's worth more bone mineral contents than children with lower dairy and other protein intake.

A separate study, published in Preventive Medicine, looked at child fruit and vegetable intake and parents. The investigators found that parents who participated in a program, called High 5 for Kids, that emphasized fruit and vegetable intake ate significantly more of these foods than did parents who were not part of the intervention.

Additionally, an increase of one fruit or vegetable serving per day for parents was linked to an increase of half a fruit or vegetable serving per day among their children. However, the diet of overweight children whose parents participated in the program was not affected.