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Age-related frailty has become a growing public health concern and research shows that the nutrients in dairy play an important role in benefiting ageing bones, nutrition experts explained today.

It’s essential that we maintain healthy bones throughout life, however it’s during childhood and adolescence when bones grow most rapidly in both length and strength. By the time we reach our late teens around 90% of the adult skeleton has been formed, highlighting the importance of good nutrition to support growth and development during these years.

Nutrition students from the University of Chester will attend a seminar organised by The Dairy Council addressing the benefits of dairy, calcium and bone health for healthy ageing today.

The seminar will hear from Dr Tom Hill, senior lecturer in nutrition at Newcastle University, whose expertise centres on the impact of diet and nutrients on musculoskeletal health throughout life.

Dr Hill, said: “There is growing evidence showing the beneficial role that dairy consumption plays in promoting bone health in children, adolescents and adults. Dairy products make significant contributions to the dietary intakes of key nutrients essential to bone health throughout life, notably calcium and protein.

“Additionally, higher fracture risks have been reported in those with low calcium intakes, lactose intolerance and milk avoiding adults.”

Erica Hocking, senior nutrition scientist with The Dairy Council added: “Although we often think of bone diseases as a diseases of older people, experts suggest that risk factors may partly stem from teenage years as a result of poor diet but may not present itself until later in life.

“Whilst it is an area that requires further research, initial studies show that the nutrients in dairy foods can help reduce the risk of frailty in older people. Prevention is always better than cure and with the UK’s growing ageing population becoming a public health concern, we need to be aware of how our diets can help us as we get older.”

Dairy contributes more calcium than other foods groups to the UK diet. In addition to calcium, milk is high in protein and is a source of phosphorus, all of which are important for maintaining bones.

Bone diseases contribute significantly to a reduced quality of life and therefore we must look further into how our diet can help us to age well.

Find out more about the nutritional value of dairy in our free downloadable publications