The full fracture histories of 50 children (30 girls and 20 boys, age range 3 to 13 years) who had avoided drinking cow's milk for prolonged periods were compared with those in a birth cohort of more than 1,000 children from the same city. Children who avoided milk did not use calcium-rich food substitutes appropriately and had low dietary calcium intakes and low bone mineral density values. Many were overweight (22 of 50). Significantly more of the children who avoided milk reported fractures (16 observed vs 6 expected, chi(2)=31.0, P<.001, df=5). They also experienced more total fractures than the birth cohort population (22 observed vs 8 expected, chi(2)=33.6, P<.001, df=5). All of the fractures occurred before puberty, the majority (18 of 22) being associated with only slight trauma. Forearm fractures were especially common (12 fractures). We conclude that young children avoiding milk are prone to fracture.