Teens and youth are often encouraged to drink milk as it is a great way of getting nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium, but a study by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has made a discovery that may surprise, hip fracture risk is increased in men as they consume more milk. Dr. Diane Feskanich, leader author of the study reported, “teen milk consumption was associated with a higher fracture risk among men, but not women.”
Male teens (between 13 and 18) are associated having greater hip fracture risks later in life when too much milk is consumed. An additional glass of milk a day increases this risk by 9%. To be more specific researchers say that “milk consumption in early life not only builds bone mass but also increases height, and height is a risk factor for hip fractures in later life.”
Part of the reason that this risk is more geared towards men than woman is due to height playing the role that it does in hip fractures. Researchers in the study stated, “a mediating effect of height can partially account for our observed positive association between teenage milk consumption and hip fractures in men, as risk was attenuated when height was added to the model.”
A national survey that began in 1976 had 96,000 men and woman respond more than 21 years later. The data accumulated supports these findings however further more specific research is warranted to solidify a more accurate conclusion.
As with any study of such proportions it is difficult to get accurate results. Measuring anything over the course of 20 years is subject to a number of other possible variables that could subtly influence the outcome. Other dietary sources with protein could unintentionally play a role and influence the results. Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., has stated in a news release that other factors such as eggs and meat could impact the results.
Thinking beyond the limitation of just this study, Weaver has concerns about how this data may affect osteoporosis. Adding more on the matter Weaver stated, “Practically speaking, does the study by Feskanich and colleagues offer a solution to osteoporosis? Without dairy, dietary quality is compromised. If milk intake in teens contributes to height, and therefore fracture risk in older men, who among men aspire to be shorter?”
Weaver brings up an interesting point. For some men height is a big part of identification and personal identity. Certainly not many, if any, aspire to be short; history has shown us with the Napoleon complex that it is usually the other way around.
One year ago, Medial News Today suggested that three cups of milk a day may be outdated and that two cups of milk a day provides children with the necessary amount of nutrients needed. Could this newly suggested amount of milk consumption be the more accurate path for growing male youth? Does the possibility of increased hip fracture scare men? Will it influence the amount of milk male youth drink? Even if researchers work towards finding accurate answers to such questions it will likely take years to form, but current studies show that too much milk in youth males can increase hip fracture risk later in life.
By Garrett Jutte