Wednesday, November 28, 2012
How grandchildren motivate grandparents to stay healthy
Milk Drinking as a Child Linked to Better Balance in Old AgeNov 21, 2012 Authors & Disclosures
Milk-drinking kids retain their spryness in old age, according toresearch published in the November issue of Age and Ageing.
Kate Birnie, PhD, from the School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, and colleagues found that drinking a glass of milk a day in childhood was linked to a 5% faster walk and 25% decreased risk for balance problems in old age.
"The effect sizes appear small, but subtle differences in physical ability could greatly impact on activities in daily life," the authors write, noting the potential danger of balance problems and the benefits of being able to cross a road before the light changes.
According to the authors, prior studies have demonstrated that milk and dairy consumption in childhood and adulthood lead to positive health outcomes, such as a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.
To examine the potential effect of childhood milk, protein, calcium, and fat intake on current performance and mobility, researchers pulled dietary data from the 65-year prospective Boyd Orr cohort (n = 405), which was started in the 1930s, and the Caerphilly Prospective Study (n = 1195).
Men who are now between 63 and 86 years of age were put through a series of activities, and the results were then analyzed using a model adjusted for age, sex, centre, socioeconomic circumstance, energy intake, adult body mass index, and comorbid conditions.
Results showed that higher childhood milk intake was associated with a 5% faster walking time (per standard deviation increase in natural log of milk consumption) in the get-up and go test in Boyd Orr (95% confidence interval [CI], 1% - 9%; P = .02), as well as 25% lower risk for poor balance (odds ratio [OR], 0.75; 0.55 - 1.02; P < .07) after adjustment for socioeconomic status, adult BMI, energy intake, and adult comorbid conditions.
Faster walking times correlated with increased intake of calcium (4% faster; 95% CI, 0% - 8%; P = .03) and fat (3% faster; 95% CI, 0% - 6%; P =.05), whereas higher protein intake decreased the risk for poor balance by 29% (OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.54 - 0.92; P = .01).
Researchers also found that protein intake in adulthood positively correlated with walking times (2% faster per standard deviation; 1% - 3%), emphasizing the benefits of establishing lifelong healthy habits.
"Our study suggests that a benefit of milk consumption on health in old age may be extended to intake in childhood," the authors conclude, cautioning that any potential public health advice should also consider suggested harmful effects of milk, such as the potential link between calcium and prostate cancer.
The study was funded by a Research Into Ageing PhD studentship to Dr. Birnie. The Caerphilly Prospective Study phase 5 follow-up was funded by a grant from the Alzheimer's Society. The Boyd Orr cohort has received funding from the Medical Research Council, the World Cancer Research Fund, Research Into Ageing, United Kingdom Survivors, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the British Heart Foundation. The Boyd Orr follow-up clinics in 2002 were funded within a Wellcome Research Training Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology to one of the authors.
Age Ageing. 2012;41:776-784. Abstract