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Milk intake and bone mineral acquisition in adolescent girls

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 06 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1747

Increases in bone density may be result of micronutrients in additional cereal

  1. Susan New, lecturer in nutrition,
  2. Gordon Ferns, Professor of metabolic and molecular medicine,
  3. Bryan Starkey, Principal biochemist
  1. Centre for Nutrition and Food Safety, School of Biological Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 5XH.
  2. The Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford GU2 5XX
  3. 57 Sharland Close, Wantage, Oxfordshire OX12 0AF
  4. Division of Clinical Sciences, University of Sheffield, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield S5 7AU
  5. Trent Cancer Registry, Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield S10 2SJ
  6. Department of Food and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1264, USA
  7. Division of Clinical Sciences, University of Sheffield, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield S5 7AU

    EDITOR—Cadogan et al reported the effect of increased milk intake on bone mineral acquisition in English schoolgirls.1 The results of their study have important implications for childhood dietary policy. We are concerned, however, that the results may be confounded by associated changes in dietary intake. We noted comments made by a participant in the study on a BBC news item that she consumed her additional milk with extra cereal.

    Most cereals available in the United Kingdom are supplemented with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, there is evidence in the literature that these micronutrients are important to bone health,2 and the effect observed may therefore reflect in part the additional micronutrient intake from this source. Indeed, the intake of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B-1 and B-2 were higher in the milk supplemented group. This may not be solely attributable to the milk.

    Details of how the milk was consumed are not given in the paper, but the data should be available from the interim food diaries recording non-weighed food intake over four days that subjects completed on five interim occasions. It would be interesting and important for these …

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