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Bring back school milk for all; RETRO REPORT How we covered...

Byline: Tony Woolway

CHILDREN and teenagers must start drinking milk again in a bid to improve their longterm health, a leading Welsh scientist has claimed.

Professor Peter Elwood believes urgent steps must be taken to reverse dwindling milk consumption among children, especially teenage girls.

The Cardiff University honorary professor, best known for discovering the beneficial effects of aspirin on heart attack and stroke, is calling for school milk to be re-introduced to help improve young people's nutritional levels.

Wales is the only country in the UK which provides five to seven-year-olds with free school milk.

The School Milk Project has been active in Wales for the past six years and has created more than 100,000 milk drinkers in that time.

But throughout the UK, milk drinking has slumped to a 25-year low amid fears milk is fattening and can raise cholesterol levels.

The dip in milk consumption has raised widespread concerns that children and teenagers, especially teenage girls, are not getting enough calcium in their diets, which can help to prevent osteoporosis in later life.

Prof Elwood, who is based at Llandough Hospital, said, "More than half our dietary calcium comes from milk and an adequate intake is essential if osteoporosis and fracture in later life is to be prevented.

"It is alarming, therefore, that the dietary calcium intakes of about one fifth of adolescent girls in theUKand about one in every 20 boys is now less than that recommended by the appropriate authorities. "Many people, and particularly teenage girls, believe that milk is fattening and either avoid it, or drink very little.

"There is good evidence to show that this is not the case."
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 24, 2009
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