Research shows that flavoured milk may be an answer to the problem of low calcium intakes in children.
Two out of three Australian children aged 9 to 16 are missing a critical window of opportunity to build strong bones and prevent future health problems by not consuming enough calcium, according to research presented at the International Congress of Dietetics in Sydney this week, attended by more than 2000 dietitians from around 57 countries.
CSIRO researcher Dr Gilly Hendrie presented research that showed one of the most effective ways to boost calcium intake was to replace sugar sweetened beverages with low fat flavoured milk.
Professor Rachel Johnson, Chair of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee and currently serving on President Obama’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Science Board, described the US experience where, when flavoured milk was removed from schools in an attempt to reduce sugar intake, over one-third of the children stopped drinking milk.
Prof Johnson said that to replace the powerhouse of nutrients that this milk provided with other foods resulted in increased calories and cost.
“When sugar is added to a nutrient rich food such as milk the quality of children’s diets improves,” she said.
Prof Johnson said that both US and Australian research revealed that kids who drank flavoured milk had higher total milk intakes but no adverse effect on their weight.
“We can have a small amount of added sugar; we just need to choose wisely which foods we add it to,” she said.
As children grow older they drink less milk, a key food for providing calcium plus at least nine other essential nutrients.
Dr Rachel Johnson is available for interviews.
About the International Congress of Dietitics: The International Congress of Dietetics 2012 is being held in Sydney from 5-9 September. The congress is hosted by the Dietitians Association of Australia. More information on ICD can be found at www.icd2012.com
About Nestlé: Nestlé is the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company. Nestlé makes Milo, which when added to milk as directed, boosts the total calcium in the beverage by 70%.
Prof Johnson’s involvement in the ICD is sponsored by Nestlé.
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