The claim helps communicate the benefits of calcium and vitamin D in bone health to Americans, many of whom are falling short in consuming the recommended amounts of these key nutrients and more than 10 million of whom are already living with osteoporosis. By the year 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 will have weak bones.
Together, milk, cheese and yogurt are the main sources of calcium and vitamin D in the diets of Americans. Three 8-oz. glasses of vitamin D-fortified milk provide 90% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for calcium and 75% of the DV for vitamin D. Current research indicates that most people aren't getting enough vitamin D or calcium. The claim also helps communicate the critical need for physical activity in reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life and is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
For individuals who are lactose intolerant, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that milk alternatives within the milk food group, such as yogurt and lactose-free milk, are the most reliable and easiest way to derive the health benefits associated with milk and milk products. Studies have identified simple strategies to make dairy easier to digest -- drinking lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk, eating yogurt, consuming hard cheeses such as Cheddar or Swiss that are naturally low in lactose or drinking small amounts of milk at meals.
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