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Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Mar;83(3):714-21.

Growth, bone mass, and vitamin D status of Chinese adolescent girls 3 y after withdrawal of milk supplementation.

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  • 1Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



A 2-y school milk intervention trial showed that 330 mL of a dietary milk supplement (fortified with calcium alone or with both calcium and vitamin D) enhanced the growth and bone mineral accretion of Chinese girls aged 10 y at baseline. Girls who received milk fortified with both calcium and vitamin D also had better vitamin D status than did girls who received nothing or girls who received milk fortified only with calcium.


The aim was to evaluate whether these effects were sustained 3 y after supplement withdrawal.


Anthropometric measures and dietary intake were reassessed in 501 of the 698 girls whose data had been studied at the end of the intervention. As in the intervention phase, total-body bone mineral content and bone mineral density and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were measured in half of these subjects.


At follow-up, 99% of girls had reached menarche, at a mean (+/-SD) menarcheal age of 12.1 +/- 1.1 y. No significant differences in the timing of menarche were observed between the 3 groups (P = 0.6). No significant differences in the changes of total-body bone mineral content and bone mineral density since baseline were observed between the groups. The group receiving calcium-fortified milk had significantly greater gains in sitting height (0.9 +/- 0.3%; P = 0.02) than did the control group. The group that received calcium- and vitamin D-fortified milk had 17.1 +/- 6.7% lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations than did the control group (P = 0.04), but the difference was attenuated by additional adjustment for physical activity level (14.2 +/- 6.7%; P = 0.08).


Milk supplementation during early puberty does not have long-lasting effects on bone mineral accretion.

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