Milk Didn't Do a Hip Good

Hip fractures among older adults were not linked to milk drunk in teenage years

(RxWiki News) Commercials have told viewers for years that "Milk does a body good." The actual evidence, however, shows that may not be true when it comes to hip fractures.

A recent study found that the amount of milk teens drank played no part in their risk of a hip fracture much later in life.

There was no difference in hip fracture risk among women who drank more or less milk than their peers.

Among men, drinking milk as a teen was linked to a tiny increase in risk for hip fractures, though this risk appeared related to the men's height as well.

The study could not show that drinking milk as a teen contributed to any problems, but it did show that it made no difference to preventing hip fractures.

"Ask your doctor how to reduce your risk of hip fracture."

This study, led by Diane Feskanich, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, looked at whether drinking more milk in one's teen years helped reduce the risk of bone fractures later in life.

The researchers analyzed data from a study that followed more than 96,000 US men and women, aged 50 or older, for an average of 22 years.

The researchers had gathered information on how much milk and other foods the participants had consumed between ages 13 and 18, and their height at their tallest.

Then, every two years, the participants filled out detailed questionnaires that provided information on their current diet, their weight, their physical activity, their medications, smoking habits (if any) and other health history information that might relate to their risk for a hip fracture.

Over the two decades of follow-up, the women experienced a total of 1,226 hip fractures, and the men experienced 490 hip fractures.

The researchers adjusted their analysis to account for various risk factors for hip fracture and for how much milk the participants were currently drinking.

The researchers did not find any link between drinking milk as a teenager and hip fracture risk in the women.

Regardless of how much milk the women had drunk as teens, they were no more or less likely to have a hip fracture than women who drank more or less milk than them.

Among men, however, there was a tiny link showing a higher risk of hip fracture among those who had drunk more milk in their teen years.

In fact, men were about 9 percent more likely to experience a hip fracture for each additional glass of milk they drank while teens.

After figuring in the men's height, this link became weaker, though. Further, the results do not mean that drinking milk caused the hip fractures.

Instead, there could be other characteristics shared between the men who had hip fractures and those who drank more milk as teenagers.

Regardless, the researchers determined that drinking more milk as a teen did not appear to reduce older adults' risk of a hip fracture later in life.

This study was published November 18 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Cancer Institute.

Review Date: 
November 18, 2013