Milk, dairy do build strong bones

Regarding the Sept. 21 guest commentary, “Milk, unfortunately, builds weak bones” by Beverly Hoback:

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, mother and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I was disturbed by the personal bias and inaccuracies leveled against dairy foods stated as fact by Ms. Hoback. Her lack of scientific perspective creates confusion, perpetuates misinformation, misleads the public and could potentially harm our health.

The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Council on Science &Health, the Academy of Nutrition &Dietetics, the Centers for Disease Control and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, all recommend including milk and dairy foods as part of a healthful eating plan.

Milk and dairy foods supply calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and protein — the key nutrients, along with weight-bearing exercise, needed for bone health.

While research already shows that children and adolescents are not getting the daily amount of calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus they need, entirely cutting out milk and dairy foods that supply these important nutrients would be detrimental to their health and growth, including increasing the risk for pre-pubertal bone fractures.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health &Osteoporosis states that by 2020 half of all Americans over age 50 will be at increased risk for fractures from osteoporosis and low bone mass if we do not consistently consume bone-building nutrients, like those found in dairy foods.

Dairy foods are a superior source of high quality protein. This complete profile of amino acids is necessary to build, repair and maintain lean muscle mass, which is especially important for the aging and elderly populations.

Vitamin D is needed in adequate amounts to help absorb calcium properly. As more Vitamin D deficiencies are occurring, especially in the northern latitudes of the country, milk fortified with Vitamin D is one of the best solutions.

Nutrition is a complex science. We need to follow evidence-based science and not opinions when it comes to our health and the health of our children.

Kim Larson, RDN, CD, CSSD

Spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition &Dietetics

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