A new study is providing even more reasons to include dairy in the diets of older adults. The study, published in The BMJ, found that nursing home residents who increased their intake of milk, cheese, and yogurt from an average of two servings per day to 3.5 servings per day demonstrated a 33% reduction in all fractures after just six months and a 46% reduction in hip fractures, as well as an 11% reduction in falls.
The study — which included over 7,000 residents in 60 nursing homes over a two-year period —reinforces the importance of all people, especially vulnerable populations like older adults, having access to nutritious, affordable, and enjoyable foods like milk and other dairy products.
Most Americans, including a majority of older adults, are not eating enough of the nutritious foods to support optimal health, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The current guidelines recommend adults consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products daily as part of a healthy eating pattern. Adults age 65 and older have lower energy needs, yet their nutritional requirements remain the same or greater, highlighting the importance of diet quality and nutrient-dense foods.
At Dairy Council of California, we believe that milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy foods are essential to healthy eating patterns, and the most recent research supports this value. Increasing dairy consumption is an easy, actionable way to support the overall health and well-being of the 1.4 million Americans living in nursing homes.
Dairy farmers do their part day in and day out by producing healthy dairy foods, which are critical to elevating the health of children and adults. This good work can be amplified by farmers using their own channels and outreach efforts to share results of the nursing home study and other research.
Dairy Council of California encourages collaboration on various strategies that will improve the health of Americans, support healthy eating patterns at all life stages, prevent disease risk, and foster overall health and well-being. Learn more ways to get involved at www.HealthyEating.org/Join.