“Dairy foods don’t make you fat and it doesn’t lead to weight gain.”

That’s what Glenys Zucco, a dietitian with Dairy Australia, told the Herald Sun, about the benefits of including dairy in a healthy diet.

She was also acknowledging a recent report in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, which found that two-thirds of women and teenage girls fall short of their recommended daily dairy intake. More than half of men and teenage boys also failed to hit their target dairy consumption.

According to Zucco, concerns about weight gain are likely to blame for the 83 percent of teenage girls who shun dairy products.

Dietitian Julie Gilbert notes that many children and teens are calcium-deficient. 

"The teenage years are an opportunity to absorb as much calcium as you can, and dairy is the best way to do this. We associate dairy with everything from weight gain to sinus problems, but this is completely false," Gilbert told the Herald Sun.

"We know people who eat three serves of a dairy a day are more likely to be in the healthy weight range, but we don’t know why," Gilbert said.

Earlier this month a study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics found that milk-drinking teenage girls were more likely to have less body fat and a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than peers who didn’t drink milk. Similarly, a 2012 Swedish study found that children who consumed whole milk weighed an average of 8.8 pounds less than peers.