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Children Who Consume Dairy Have Stronger Bones

November 27, 2008

Eating an abundance of dairy foods, meat, and other high-protein foods in childhood produces sturdy and healthier bones in adolescence, an investigation in the Journal of Pediatrics announces.

Boys and girls who consumed at two servings of dairy daily in their childhood had stronger bones in their teens than their peers who consumed less, Dr. Lynn L. Moore of Boston University School of Medicine and her colleagues established. Intake of four or more servings of meat and other protein-rich foods additionally increased bone density.

In spite of the scolding of parents for decades, the findings of studies on the results of dairy or calcium additions on bone health have been varied, Moore and her team indicate. Since the majority of these studies were brief, only 1 to 2 years, the “best available evidence” on dairy’s long-term effects will be found by following the diets of children for years to come, they add.

The researchers examined statistics from the Framingham Children’s Study for 106 children who were tracked from 1987, to 1999. Numerous 3-day food diaries were gathered during the path of the study, and the participants received bone scans at15 to 17 years old.

Study participants who had two or more helpings of dairy foods a day in their childhood boasted greater bone mineral content, larger bone area, and stronger bone mineral density than those who ate a smaller amount, the researchers discovered. Children who consumed four or more helpings of meat or other kinds of protein also had denser bones.

Dairy and proteins also had additive consequences, with children who ate the most of both kinds of food having the strongest, biggest bones; those who had a smaller amount had the smallest bones.

The profits were visible in numerous areas of the body, with increased bone mineral content in the arms, legs, trunk, ribs and pelvis, specifically.

“The findings of this study confirm the importance of a diet rich in dairy and other protein sources on adolescent bone mass,” Moore and her team finish.

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