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One Thing You've Likely Been Told About Drinking Milk Could Be Wrong

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"Drink your milk."

drink milk A study found drinking extra milk in teen years might not help prevent hip fractures later in life. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

For many, hearing mom direct them to finish a tall glass of the calcium-rich liquid continued well into teens years. If you quipped about not needing to drink milk, a new study might back up your protest.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends male and female teens consume at least three cups of milk or other dairy products per day.

But researchers found drinking milk did not actually lead to stronger bones per se later in life. Milk consumption and hip fracture risk did not show a correlation, according to the study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Drinking milk, however, was associated with being taller, and those who were taller had a greater risk for hip fracture.

According to a news release about the study, men who drank an extra glass of milk, compared to their peers, in their teen years saw a 9 percent higher risk for hip fracture later in life. This correlation was not made for woman and milk consumption.

“We did not see an increased risk of hip fracture with teenage milk consumption in women as we did in men. One explanation may be the competing benefit of an increase in bone mass with an adverse effect of greater height. Women are at higher risk for osteoporosis than men, hence the benefit of greater bone mass balanced the increased risk related to height,” the authors said in a statement.

The jury is still out on how much milk teens should consume for maximum benefits though.

“A main tenet of Feskanich and colleagues is that milk consumption in teens may have led to an increase in height as an adult. Height has been identified as a risk factor for osteoporosis," Connie Weaver with Purdue University said in a statement about the research, which was led by Diane Feskanich of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University. "It is not clear why this would be true in men but not women, and especially given that men experience about one-fourth the hip fractures that women do.”

“Practically speaking, does the study by Feskanich and colleagues offer a solution to osteoporosis? Without dairy, dietary quality is compromised," Weaver continued. "If milk intake in teens contributes to height, and therefore fracture risk in older men, who among men aspire to be shorter?”

Featured image via Shutterstock.

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