Importance Milk consumption during adolescence is recommended to promote peak bone mass and thereby reduce fracture risk in later life. However, its role in hip fracture prevention is not established and high consumption may adversely influence risk by increasing height.
Objectives To determine whether milk consumption during teenage years influences risk of hip fracture in older adults and to investigate the role of attained height in this association.
Design, Setting, and Participants Prospective cohort study over 22 years of follow-up in more than 96 000 white postmenopausal women from the Nurses’ Health Study and men aged 50 years and older from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the United States.
Exposures Frequency of consumption of milk and other foods during ages 13 to 18 years and attained height were reported at baseline. Current diet, weight, smoking, physical activity, medication use, and other risk factors for hip fractures were reported on biennial questionnaires.
Main Outcomes and Measures Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate relative risks (RRs) of first incidence of hip fracture from low-trauma events per glass (8 fl oz or 240 mL) of milk consumed per day during teenage years.
Researchers followed people for 22 years to see if drinking milk as a teenager affected the rate of hip fractures during the study period. What did they find? There were more than 1200 hip fractures in women and almost 500 hip fractures in men in the follow-up period. But it turns out that each additional glass of milk per day as teenagers was associated with a 9% HIGHER risk of hip fractures in men later in life. Drinking more milk had no effect in women.
In other words, regardless of what the ads say, as a teen there’s no protective effect of your “bones getting stronger” in terms of preventing hip fractures later in life by drinking milk. In fact, the evidence shows that it may make it more likely that males will develop hip fractures.
Don’t believe the hype! Fight the milk industrial complex!