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LIFTING DAIRY INTAKE HAS BIG IMPACT ON REDUCING FRACTURES

November 15, 2021

A glass of milk in a resident's hand

A study into the impact of dairy intake on reducing fractures and falls in older adults has shown that the risk is lowered considerably.

Liscombe House residents took part in The University of Melbourne two-year study. The results saw the risk of all fractures lessen by a third and hip fractures by almost half.

The study involved 7,195 aged care residents from 60 residential aged care facilities examined the impact of providing additional calcium and protein through dairy foods on the risk of fractures and falls in older adults.

Residents were treated to approximately two additional serves of dairy per day, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, to reach Australian Dietary Guidelines of four servings for women over 70 and three-and-a-half servings for men over 70.

Lead researcher Dr Sandra Iuliano said the magnitude of the results surprised her.

The nutritionist and senior research fellow said that previous research had shown that aged residents are often only consuming two servings of dairy a day.

“We know at around two servings a day; they’re only getting about half of the total calcium they need,” she said.

“By changing the food and what they’re eating, we were able to increase their calcium intake as well as their protein intake.”

The study shows the additional calcium was slowing down residents’ bone loss and the additional protein was maintaining their muscles, Dr Iuliano said.

For the intervention, dietitians worked with chefs and cooks in participating aged care homes to increase dairy foods based on what residents wanted to eat and what they liked to cook.”

“We fortified milk. We modified diets. We added dairy in place of snacks… We also used it as a substitution, so for example, instead of gravy, we might have used a cheese sauce instead,” Dr Iuliano said.

The study was conducted in 60 facilities. It wasn’t a costly intervention, it cost less than $1 a day.

The study received grant funding from nine global dairy organisations, including Dairy Australia, and three philanthropic organisations.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal.

 

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