Dairy Intake Predicts Adolescent Bone Health

August 15, 2008

Children with greater intakes of dairy products are likely to enjoy superior bone health in adolescence, according to a report published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of Pediatrics.

FRIDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Children with greater intakes of dairy products are likely to enjoy superior bone health in adolescence, according to a report published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Lynn L. Moore, of the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues studied 106 subjects from the Framingham Children's Study who were aged 3 to 5 years at baseline in 1987, and followed them annually through 1999. The primary outcomes were bone mineral content and area at ages 15 to 17.

The researchers found that the strongest predictor of bone health was mean dairy intake during all childhood years. Compared to children who consumed less than two servings of dairy per day, the researchers found that those who consumed two or more had significantly higher bone mineral content and area. They also found that at least four servings per day of meats and other proteins were associated with a higher mean bone mineral content and area. Compared to children with the lowest intake of dairy, meats and other proteins, the researchers found that those with the highest intake had a significantly higher adjusted bone mineral content (3,090.1 grams versus 2,740.2 grams).

"The findings of this study confirm the importance of a diet rich in dairy and other protein sources on adolescent bone mass," the authors conclude. "Many previous studies have examined shorter-term nutrient effects, most notably calcium effects, in clinical trials. Although these studies have aided in understanding of the potential mechanism of dairy's beneficial effects, they do not provide the sufficient evidence of longer-term effects. The data from the Framingham Children's Study add to our knowledge and understanding of the longer-term effects of dietary patterns on bone health in growing children."

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