Monday, 17 July 2017 07:55

Milk needs promotion

Written by  Peter Burke
Marlena Kruger. Marlena Kruger.

Milk and dairy products need ongoing promotion in New Zealand, says a nutritional physiology professor at Massey University.

Marlena Kruger, who specialises in bone growth, has just completed a study of the effects of milk on children in the Fonterra milk-for-schools programme, and those who do not. The milk drinkers had significantly better bone health than those who did not.

The year-long research involved children aged five to ten. As the children’s diets were not controlled during the study, the data could indicate that the children drinking milk at school are also milk drinkers at home, so getting the full benefit of milk and dairy.

In general terms, Kruger says, drinking milk which supplies calcium, other minerals and protein is critical in life’s two big growth spurts – from birth to age five and later in adolescence to about 18; by this age a human has reached up to 80% of their adult skeleton, although bone accrual will continue for about 10 more years.

“In females bone mineral remains stable between ages 25-45 depending on lifestyle, until they reach menopause at about 55, then they can become susceptible to osteoporosis. In males this doesn’t happen until 70 plus years depending on lifestyle.”

Kruger stresses milk is important during adolescence; at about the age 13 - 14 girls may become self-conscious about their bodies, worrying that milk and dairy products will make them fat. The irony is that those who turn to soft drinks will likely suffer more harm.

While not drinking milk can affect a child’s health, other factors are also emerging, Kruger says. With NZ children being so protected from the sun, they may not get enough vitamin D, a major problem also in Asia.

Studies show that children not playing outside, not getting enough physical exercise and not drinking milk are more susceptible to bone fractures.

“It is useful to promote milk as a health drink, perhaps broadening it to include dairy, Kruger says.

More like this

Wow factor from European tour

A group of emerging horticultural leaders who have recently returned from an executive study tour in Europe say it’s been eye opening, amazing and life changing in terms of their careers.


Water reforms come at a cost

The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.

2020 harvest yields up

Final harvest data for wheat, barley and oats (milling/malting and feed) in 2020 show yields were up 17% overall across the six crops.


Difficult but the right call

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says the joint decision three years ago to eradicate Mycoplamsa bovis was a difficult call.

Milking cluster milks runner-up award

DeLaval has come away with the runner up prize in this year’s Fieldays Online innovation competition with a new milking cluster that eliminates the need for conventional liner changes.

Glow worms to cows

Thomas Lundman's work focus has gone from tracking tiny critters in pitch black caves to looking after considerably larger animals in paddocks near Whakatane.

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

A ticking timebomb?

There could be another dairy health scare brewing in China and this one starts in our backyard.

Please explain

Does anyone in the Government understand the essential role St John Ambulance has in our society?

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter