It is a common belief that boys who drink more milk grow up with stronger bones. But according to a new research, drinking too much milk during adolescence not only fails to alleviate the risk of hip fractures later in life but could even increase that risk in men by stimulating height.
The study, detailed in JAMA Pediatrics, was carried out by researchers at Brigham and Women´s Hospital, led by Diane Feskanich. The team examined the link between teenage milk consumption and the risk of sustaining a hip fracture at older ages among 96,000 men and women with a follow-up period of over 22 years. The participants in the study were asked to remember the number of glasses of milk they drank as teenagers. In the follow-up period, women reported 1,226 hip fractures, while the number of fractures that occurred among men was 490.
The study found that milk consumption between the ages of 13 and 18 was associated with a heightened risk of hip fractures in men, with each additional glass of milk a day translating into a 9% increase in risk. Height was the main reason behind the bigger likelihood of hip fractures in men. The researchers found no association between teenage milk consumption and hip fractures in women.
Drinking milk during adolescence contributes to bone mass but also increases height, which has been identified as a key risk factor for hip fractures later in life, the researchers explained.