Farmers Forum staff
The risk of bone fractures in the elderly is reduced by 33 per cent when they are consuming enough cheese, yoghurt and milk, concludes a recent study published in the British Medical Journal.
The two-year study involved 7,195 older adults in 60 residential care facilities in Australia. They were provided with about two additional servings of dairy products a day to reach Australian dietary guidelines of four servings for women over 70 and three and a half servings for men over 70. Their mean intake was 600 mg/day of calcium.
Dietitians worked with cooks in participating residential care homes to increase dairy mean intake to 600 mg/day of calcium based on what residents liked to eat, said lead researcher Dr. Sandra Iuliano, nutritionist and senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne. Milk was fortified and dairy products were used in snacks and as meal substitutes. For instance, cheese sauce was used instead of gravy.
Not only were all bone fractures reduced by a third, but hip fractures went down by 46 per cent and falls were reduced by 11 per cent, the study concluded. The additional calcium slowed elderly residents’ bone loss and the additional protein maintained their muscles, said Dr. Iuliano.