Shunned by many as a source of artery-clogging cholesterol,
calcium-rich dairy products consumed in childhood may in some cases
add years to one's life, reported a study.
A 65-year follow-up to a 1930's survey of more than 1 300
families in England and Scotland showed that a diet high in milk,
cheese and butter did not lead to higher rates of cardiovascular
Moreover, children with the largest intake of calcium from dairy
enjoyed a lower death rate from strokes, according to the study,
published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Heart disease risk factors begin in childhood, but evidence to
date has been inconclusive as to whether dairy consumption at an
early age helps or hurts.
Some experts have argued that the high fat content in
full-butter dairy products contributes to heart problems later in
How the study was done
A team of researchers led by Jolieke van der Pols, a scientist
at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, followed up with
4 374 people who took part as children in the late 1930s in a study
of food consumption.
By 2005, 34% of them – 1 468 individuals -- had died,
378 from coronary heart disease and 121 from strokes.
No evidence was found of a link between intake of dairy products
and either of these causes of mortality.
Surprising, however, childhood intake of calcium -- mainly from
milk and milk-derived comestibles -- corresponded to a lower rate
of death by stroke.
"Furthermore, childhood diets rich in dairy or calcium were
associated with lower all-cause mortality in adulthood," the study
The authors cautioned that further studies were needed to
confirm the findings, which may result in part from other factors
such as income levels and occupation. – (Sapa, July 2009)
Milk at breakfast keeps you full