How do Thailand officials hope to increase the average height and lifespan of their citizens? The answers: milk.
On Monday, the country’s Deputy Public Health Minister spoke at the Food and Agricultural Organization’s World Milk Day to promote a new campaign to spur milk consumption in the Asian country. According to the Guardian, Thais are being encouraged to drink at least one glass of cow’s milk daily to move the average height of 18-year-old Thais by 3 inches.
Currently, 18-year-old men average 65.7 inches (5 feet 5.7 inches) and women average 61.8 inches (5 feet 1.8 inches).
Thais consume 3.7 gallons per person annually – well below the average for other southeastern Asia citizens (15.9 gallons) and the international average (27.2 gallons).
The campaign may be facing an uphill battle. Many Thais are lactose intolerant, and officials found milk served in the national school milk program to be diluted or spoiled. In addition, Thailand residents consume three times as much alcohol as milk.
Research backs up the pro-dairy push. A 2002 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that children ages 1 to 6 who did not get enough milk were substantially shorter, had poorer bone health and higher rates of bone fractures than kids who were habitual milk drinkers. Check out the study here.