Mothers’ prevalent phrase, “milk is the nature’s perfect beverage” has just been corroborated by a team of British researchers. Their study affirmed that starting a milk drinking habit as a child can lead to lifelong benefits, even improving physical ability and balance in old age.
The study, published in Age & Aging, found that an increase of about one glass of milk a day as a child was linked to a 5% faster walking time and 25% lesser chance of poor balance in older age. This finding has a huge potential for adults over 65, a population expected reach more than 70 million by the year 2030, doubling over just 30 years.
The researchers analysed the childhood habits of more than 1,500 men ages 62-86 gathered from historical diet records of two large studies. They measured the impact of diet, specifically milk, protein, calcium and fat intake, on current performance and mobility in follow-up. Elderly participants were made to undertake a series of activities like walking, get-up-and-go, and balance tests. They found that childhood calcium, protein and milk intake were associated with advantages in mobility later in life.
The researchers also found that those who drank milk as children were also likely to continue drinking milk as adults, emphasising the benefits of establishing lifelong healthy habits.
While research has always supported the benefits of milk to building strong bones, this is the first study to specifically correlate a lifetime physical performance benefit to consumption of milk.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend two glasses of milk for toddlers (ages 2-3), 2.5 cups for children (ages 4-8), and 3 cups for adolescents, teens and adults. Milk at breakfast is an ideal opportunity to help your kids start the day right. Chug-a-lug!