This site has been archived on 28/02/2013

For Adults

After the age of 35, adults actually begin to lose bone rather than build it, and for women, the loss of bone happens even faster after menopause. This can result in a disease called osteoporosis, where the bones are too weak to withstand this type of loss. Often there are no symptoms, but the fragile bones are at a high risk of being fractured or broken – for example, when an elderly person falls. The same nutrient that helps children grow during childhood is what keeps our bones strong as adults. Maintaining a diet rich in calcium helps to minimise the loss of bone mineral density, the main cause of weakening bones. One of the easiest ways to do so is by regularly consuming milk and dairy products, which have a high percentage of your calcium needs.

Scientific studies have also shown that people who maintain a balanced diet that includes low-fat dairy products can also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. A study of Swedish men reported that, “men who drank 1.5 glasses of milk per day or more had a 33 % lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who had a low milk intake.” [1] The study went further, indicating that calcium as well as other components in milk acted as potential protective components. Another study found that Norwegian women who had drank milk as a child and continued the habit as an adult had a much lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who did not. [2] These studies reinforce the importance of developing good eating habits, like regularly consuming milk products, at a young age and maintaining them over the years.

While young children could benefit from drinking whole milk, adults trying to minimise fat intake can drink skim milk or eat low-fat yogurt which often contains less than 2% fat. Also, studies have shown that calcium and other nutrients in milk, like whey proteins and conjugated linoleic acid, can actually help people lose weight. [3]

Overall, the best way to stay healthy is to exercise on a regular basis and to have a healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of dairy products, fruit and vegetables. This is not only important for your own health, but also in setting a good example for children. Eating habits and attitudes towards exercise are developed at a young age, but will stay with a child for his or her entire life.

To learn more about how the European School Milk Programme is promoting good health, visit the Campaign section.

[1] “The Health Benefits of Milk“, The Dairy Council, UK

[2] See foot note 1

[3] “The nutritional value and health benefits of yogurt”, The Dairy Council UK

For Adults