High Milk Intake Linked to Increased Mortality Risk

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High Milk Intake Linked to Increased Mortality Risk
High Milk Intake Linked to Increased Mortality Risk

(HealthDay News) -- Men and women who drink three glasses of milk or more every day may have a higher mortality risk than those who drink less than one glass per day, according to new research published online Oct. 28 in The BMJ.

The study involved 61,433 women and 45,339 men in Sweden who previously filled out dietary questionnaires for other research projects, the women in the late 1980s and the men in 1997. All were over 39 years of age. Researchers compared their reported milk-drinking habits to health data kept by Swedish officials, to see whether milk consumption could be linked to risk of morbidity or mortality.

The researchers found that women who drank three glasses of milk or more every day had a nearly doubled risk of death and cardiovascular disease, and a 44 percent increased risk of cancer compared to women who drank less than one glass per day. Men's overall risk of death increased about 10 percent when they drank three or more glasses of milk daily. In addition, excessive milk drinking appeared to actually increase a woman's risk of fractures, compared with women who drank little milk. The risk of any bone fracture increased 16 percent in women who drank three or more glasses daily, and the risk of a broken hip increased 60 percent. Lots of milk did not appear to either protect against or promote broken bones in men.

Still, the findings only suggest an association and not a direct link, Mary Schooling, Ph.D., a professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, told HealthDay. People should not change their diet based on these findings, Schooling said. "We can't draw conclusions at this point," she added. "We need a study involving people who genetically can and can't digest milk easily, and compare whether those who can digest milk have a difference in cardiovascular disease, death, and fractures from those who can't."

Efforts by HealthDay to reach the National Dairy Council for comment on the study were unsuccessful.

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