Contrary to the prevailing belief that drinking milk is vital for young people’s bone health, a new study published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine suggests that dairy products and calcium are ineffective in preventing stress fractures—common sports-related injuries. Researchers from Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard University followed a group of adolescent girls ages nine to 15 over a period of seven years, analyzing their calcium, dairy, and vitamin D intakes, along with the frequency they experienced stress fractures. Unexpectedly, girls with the highest intake of calcium—mostly derived from dairy products—were found to experience twice as many stress fractures as those who consumed less calcium. On the contrary, a high intake of vitamin D was shown to decrease the risk of the injury by at least 50 percent.
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