Give Kids Dairy 3 Times a Day, Experts Advise

Milk products strengthen bones for a lifetime

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TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Milk does do a child's body good, according to new guidelines released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"The AAP recommends children eat three servings of milk, flavored milk, cheese or yogurt a day," Dr. Frank Greer, chairman of the AAP Committee on Nutrition, said in a prepared statement. Dairy products help build strong bones and reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life, the AAP explained.

Seven out of 10 teenage boys, and nine out of 10 teenage girls in the United States are not getting the calcium they need, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Calcium is important for the development of peak bone mass.

The report also emphasizes physical activity for children and the importance of parents being healthy role models. It also calls on pediatricians to monitor whether their patients are getting enough calcium.

"While there's no cure for osteoporosis, eating 3-4 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods will help children get the calcium they need to build strong bones, which will benefit them throughout life," Greer said.

"We know that children's healthy eating habits are established early in life, and the primary role models are parents," Rebecca Reeves, president of the American Dietetic Association, said in a prepared statement. "Parents can encourage their kids to make healthful food choices by including three servings of low-fat dairy foods in their own diet every day."

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children and calcium.

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, Feb. 6, 2006

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