Young Adults Not Drinking Enough Milk: Consumption of Dairy Products Decreases as Teens Reach Their Twenties

June 15, 2009

Calcium and dairy products play major roles in health maintenance and the prevention of chronic disease. Because peak bone mass is not achieved until the third decade of life, it is particularly important for young adults to consume adequate amounts of calcium, protein and vitamin D found in dairy products to support health and prevent osteoporosis later in life. In a study in the July/August issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers report that young people actually reduce their intake of calcium and dairy products as they enter their twenties.

Drawing data from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), a prospective, population-based study designed to examine determinants of and weight status, the responses of over 1,500 young adults (45% male) were analyzed by investigators from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The mean age of participants was 15.9 years at baseline and 20.5 years at follow-up.

During the transition from middle adolescence (high school) to young adulthood (post-high school), females and males respectively reduced their daily calcium intakes by an average of 153 mg and 194 mg. Although 38% of females and 39% of males increased their intake of calcium over 5 years, the majority of the sample reduced their intake of calcium over 5 years. During middle adolescence, more than 72% of females and 55% of males had calcium intakes lower than the recommended level of 1,300 mg/day. Similarly, during young adulthood, 68% of females and 53% of males had calcium intakes lower than the recommended level of 1,000 mg/day.

The researchers found that reports of mealtime milk availability, positive health/nutrition attitudes, taste preference for milk, healthful weight control behaviors and peer support for healthful eating when the participants were teenagers were associated with higher calcium intake in young adulthood. Time spent watching television and lactose intolerance during middle adolescence were associated with lower calcium intake in young adulthood.

Writing in the article, Dr. Nicole I. Larson, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues state, “The findings of this study indicate that future interventions designed to promote improvements in calcium intake should encourage the families of adolescents to serve milk at meals. In addition, interventions targeted to female adolescents should build concern for healthful eating, develop confidence in skills for healthful eating and reduce exposure to television advertisements. Interventions targeted to male adolescents should emphasize opportunities to taste calcium-rich food, the promotion of healthful weight management behaviors and supporting peers to engage in healthful eating behaviors.”

The article is “Calcium and Dairy Intake: Longitudinal Trends during the Transition to Young Adulthood and Correlates of ” by Nicole I. Larson, PhD, MPH, RD; Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD; Lisa Harnack, DrPH, RD; Melanie Wall, PhD; Mary Story, PhD, RD; and Marla E. Eisenberg, ScD, MPH. It appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 41, Issue 4, (July/August 2009) published by Elsevier.

Source: Elsevier

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Little difference between gun owners, non-gun owners on key gun policies

May 17, 2018
A new national public opinion survey from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds widespread agreement among gun owners and non-gun owners in their support for policies that restrict or regulate firearms.

Giving employees 'decoy' sanitizer options could improve hand hygiene

May 17, 2018
Introducing a less convenient option for hand sanitizing may actually boost workers' use of hand sanitizer and increase sanitary conditions in the workplace, according to findings in Psychological Science, a journal of the ...

Research shows that sexual activity and emotional closeness are unrelated to the rate of cognitive decline

May 16, 2018
Older people who enjoy a sexually active and emotionally close relationship with their partner tend to perform better at memory tests than sexually inactive older adults on a short-term basis, but this is not the case over ...

New study reveals how electronic health records can benefit clinical trials

May 16, 2018
The study entitled "Long term extension of a randomised controlled trial of probiotics using electronic health records" led by researchers in the Swansea University Medical School and the College of Human and Health Sciences, ...

Latest research strengthens case that early exposure to pollution affects long-term health

May 16, 2018
Research led by the University of Southampton has shown increasing evidence that exposure to air pollution in early life has detrimental long-term health consequences.

Researchers find a connection between left-handedness and low birth weight

May 15, 2018
A team of researchers from Finland, the Netherlands and Japan has found a connection between left-handedness and low baby birth weight. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VOR
5 / 5 (2) Jun 15, 2009
vit D is ADDED to milk, milk is NOT a natural source. And there are 'better' sources of calcium. was this article prompted by 'the milk council'? lol

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.