While milk is frequently thought of as an important beverage for children that helps build strong bones, there is robust scientific evidence that supports additional health benefits of dairy foods above and beyond bone health and long after adolescence. This is good news for the dairy community and can provide an additional opportunity to educate others about the role of milk and dairy foods in healthy eating patterns.
Recently, a study published by peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet linked consumption of dairy with a reduced risk of major cardiovascular disease and stroke — important findings as cardiovascular disease and other chronic disease rates remain high in the United States.
Additionally, research has uncovered important findings about dairy foods’ positive association with weight management within a balanced, reduced-calorie diet during a time when obesity statistics in the United States remain high. A study published in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research Journal last year indicated that dairy consumption reduces body weight, body fat, and waist circumference with calorie restriction in adults. What’s more, a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that, in addition to bone health, children who consumed dairy foods, particularly yogurt, had an improved insulin response and better glucose control and weight management.
This growing body of evidence indicates that dietary recommendations and advice should include dairy foods, within caloric recommendations regardless of fat level, as a part of eating patterns that support optimal health at all stages of life. The research linking milk and dairy food intake to positive health outcomes in children and their families must continue to be leveraged by dairy producers, processors, and the entire dairy community in a way that resonates with consumers and health professionals alike.
More information on this topic as well as the most recent dairy nutrition trends, research, and other information can be found by visiting Dairy Council of California’s webpage for dairy professionals at HealthyEating.org.