Drinking more milk might not mean children develop healthier bones, according to American researchers.
The US Government's increased recommendations for increased daily calcium intake, largely from dairy products, to between 800 and 1,300 milligrams to promote healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis is being queried.
According to a review of 37 studies examining the impact of calcium consumption on bone strength in children older than seven, researchers at the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington found 27 did not support drinking more milk to boost calcium.
The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, said boosting consumption of milk or other dairy products was not necessarily the best way to provide the minimal calcium intake of at least 400 milligrams per day.
The absorbable calcium found in one cup of cow's milk is equivalent to a cup of fortified orange juice, a cup of cooked kale, two packages of instant oats, two-thirds of a cup of tofu, or one to two thirds of a cup of broccoli, the report said.
Other studies, looking at factors such as bone density and rate of fractures, concluded that exercise may be more important than increased calcium consumption in developing strong bones.There was insufficent data on the effect of calcium intake on children younger than seven.
Dairy products provide 18 per cent of the total energy and 25 per cent of the total fat intake in the diets of American children, who are developing increasing rates of obesity.