Previous milk consumption is associated with greater bone density in young women

Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):1014-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/69.5.1014.


Background: Dietary calcium and milk intakes at specific ages may influence bone mineral measures at specific sites during development of peak bone mass.

Objective: Relations of previous milk intake and current calcium intake to current bone mineral measures were investigated in young women.

Design: A food-frequency interview and recall of previous milk intake from early childhood to 12 y of age and during adolescence (13-19 y) were completed in a cross-sectional analysis in young women (age 18-31 y; n = 224). Three levels of previous milk intake were defined: 1) infrequently or never, 2) sometimes, and 3) at every or almost every meal. Total body (TB), femoral neck, radius (R), and spine (S) bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) were determined by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Results: Childhood and adolescent milk intakes were positively correlated (r = 0.66). Childhood and adolescent milk intakes correlated with current calcium intakes (r = 0.26 and 0.33, respectively). Adolescent milk intake correlated with RBMD (r = 0.16). When weight was controlled for, adolescent milk intake correlated with TBBMD (r = 0.16), TBBMC (r = 0.21), SBMC (r = 0.16), RBMD (r = 0.18), and RBMC (r = 0.15). Current calcium intakes correlated with SBMC (r = 0.17). Regression analyses supported these results.

Conclusions: Results were consistent with the hypothesis that higher milk intake during adolescence is associated with greater total body, spine, and radial bone mineral measures during development of peak bone mass, whereas current calcium intakes may influence SBMC. In addition, milk intake at a younger age may contribute to similar habits of milk intake later in life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Bone Density*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Milk*