Friday, October 06, 2006

Milk Myths

New Study in Pediatrics
Shatters Milk Myth

For Strong Bones, Kids Need Exercise,
Sunshine, and a Dairy-Free Diet

WASHINGTON-In a new scientific review scheduled to appear in the March issue
of the peer-reviewed journal, Pediatrics, Cornell-trained nutritionist Amy
Joy Lanou, Ph.D., and co-authors show that dairy products do not promote
bone health in children and young adults. Physical activity does have a
positive impact on bone health, while evidence linking bone health with
dairy product consumption is weak, at best.

"Under scientific scrutiny, the support for the milk myth crumbles. This
analysis of 58 published studies shows that the evidence on which U.S. dairy
intake recommendations are based is scant," says Dr. Lanou, lead author of
the study. "A clear majority of the studies we examined for this review
found no relationship between dairy or dietary calcium intake and measures
of bone health. In the remaining reports, the evidence was sketchy. In some,
the effects on bone health were small, and in others, the results were
confounded by vitamin D intake from milk fortified with vitamin D. To build
strong bones and healthy bodies, children need exercise, sunshine, and a
diet rich in fruits and vegetables that helps them maintain a healthy body

The level of dairy product consumption in the United States is among the
highest in the world, and yet osteoporosis and fracture rates are also among
the highest. This "calcium paradox" was an impetus for the current
investigation. "We found no evidence to support the notion that milk is a
preferred source of calcium," the authors conclude. Dr. Lanou is nutrition
director for the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
(PCRM), and her co-authors are Susan E. Berkow, Ph.D., C.N.S., and Neal D.
Barnard, M.D.

For a copy of the new paper published in Pediatrics, an interview with one
of the authors, or b-roll of children engaged in activities that promote
bone health, contact Jeanne S. McVey at 202-686-2210, ext. 316 or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes
preventive medicine, especially good nutrition. PCRM also conducts clinical
research studies, opposes unethical human experimentation, and promotes
alternatives to animal research.

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