Study: Dairy May Not Build Strong Bones in Kids
But Dairy Industry Says Science Is on Its Side
WebMD News Archive
Nutritionists Go Head to Head continued...
"There is a clear positive link between calcium and dairy and good bone
health," Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD, tells WebMD. "No one food is a magic
bullet for preventing osteoporosis, but including calcium in the diet has been
shown to be helpful down the road. It is part of an overall healthy lifestyle
that includes physical activity."
Segrave-Daly says the studies reviewed by Lanou and colleagues paint an
incomplete picture of the science regarding calcium and strong bones.
Dairy: More Than Calcium
But Wisconsin pediatrician Frank Greer, MD, says the science is not as clear
as the dairy group suggests.
On its web site, the Dairy Council cites reviews done by its own researchers
showing an overwhelmingly positive association between eating calcium-rich
foods and bone health.
"(Studies) indicate that milk intake during childhood and adolescence is
associated with greater bone mass and protection against fractures in later
years," the Dairy Council's bone health summary states.
Greer tells WebMD it is not clear if calcium intake during childhood and
adolescence has a long-term impact on bone health.
"The thinking has been that if bone mineral density is as high as
possible in adolescence then that will help protect against osteoporosis when
someone is 65," he says. "But we really don't know if that is the
Greer says physical activity may be more important for promoting good bone
health than calcium intake. Heredity may be the most important single predictor
"No one can tell you unequivocally which of these three things is most
important for preventing osteoporosis," he says. "It is not clear if
calcium intake in early life influences bone density in women with strong
hereditary risk factors."
But Greer says he supports the new government guidelines calling on
Americans to drink more milk. He even serves as the American Academy of
Pediatrics representative for the Dairy Council's "3-A-Day for Stronger
"You get a lot more from dairy products than just calcium," he says.
"It is our major source of vitamin D in the diet and a good source of
vitamin A and potassium. We know that children and adolescents are drinking a
lot , so anything we can do to change that would be a good