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Increased Dairy Consumption May Lower Risk of Fractures in Mature Adults

A recent study suggests that increasing the amount of vitamin D and calcium a person consumes via dairy products may dramatically reduce the number of osteoporosis-related injuries in mature adults and lower the cost of treating those injuries.

The researchers determined that the regular Belgian diet would need to be supplemented with 1000 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D in order to achieve the appropriate daily intake. That amount of calcium and vitamin D can be achieved with one liter of milk, 100 g of Comte cheese, or four yogurts.

The Netherlands-based researchers created a population-based model in order to assess potential effects of the additional dairy intake on the number of fractures as well as the economic impact. The researchers used this theoretical model to create projections for four female and four male cohorts age 50, 60, 70, and 80 years old. They extracted data from the 2014-2060 SPF Economie, the official source for socio-demographic data in Belgium.

The cohorts were classified according to their baseline risk of developing an osteoporosis fracture. Baseline risk was determined using the findings of “Osteoporosis in the European Union: a compendium of country-specific reports.” Finally, they projected the impact of increased calcium and vitamin D via dairy products onto each age cohort over their projected remaining lifetime.

The researchers found that supplementing a regular diet with more dairy products that contain 1000 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D over the entire cohort that they analyzed would reduce the number of osteoporotic fractures in women by 30,376 and in men by 16,105. They also estimated a gain of a total 6,605 life-years in women in and 6,144 life-years in men. Finally, they found that a dairy intervention was cost-effective from 70 years on in the general population and from 60 years on in those individuals who had an increased risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Researchers from the University of Liege conducted the study. It was published on December 14, 2015, in the Archives of Public Health, which is the official journal of the Belgian Public Health Association.

Dairy consumption has also been linked to bone health, diabetes prevention, weight loss, and improved mental function. If you’re looking to add more dairy to your diet, consider sticking to the low-fat dairy products as the high fat content of whole milk products could negatively affect other areas of the body.

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