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News / April 21, 2008

Review reveals inadequate calcium intake among women

by Guy Hiscott

A review of the milk supply chain in Ireland has revealed that young women and teenage girls should increase their consumption of milk to improve their calcium intake.

Martin Higgins, chief executive of safefood, which undertook the review, commented: ‘It is clear from this review that while nine out of 10 people on the island drink milk and over half drink it on more than one occasion a day, young women and teenage girls would benefit from drinking more, as it is an excellent source of calcium.

‘Recent research has revealed that 23% of women are not currently meeting the recommended intake of calcium and, furthermore, 42% of teenage girls have inadequate intakes of calcium.’

Dr Cliodhna Foley Nolan, director of human health and nutrition at safefood added: ‘While most people are aware of the benefits of milk as a source of calcium and in bone development for infants and young children, there is a common misconception that these benefits are of less importance as people grow older, which is not the case. ‘Dietary guidelines recommend three servings of dairy a day for the general population, with five servings recommended for teenagers and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. A 200ml glass of milk represents one of these servings.’

In recent years there has been a slight increase in the consumption of milk, but there has been an overall decline in per capita consumption in Ireland and the rest of the EU, with consumer trends showing increased favour towards water, juices and soft drinks over milk.