A new health claim recently finalized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) links calcium and vitamin D to improved bone health — giving the public another reason to consume more dairy. Communicating the health benefits of dairy helps drive increased sales of and demand for U.S.-produced dairy products and ingredients.
The FDA’s new rule allows the industry to communicate health claims about the relationship between calcium and vitamin D and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. This is in addition to health claims about calcium only and a reduced risk of osteoporosis.
The FDA claim can be used on the packages of reduced-fat, low-fat and fat-free milk and qualifying yogurt varieties, as well as other food products that qualify as excellent sources of calcium or calcium and vitamin D per serving. (An “excellent source” is defined as having 20 percent or more of the recommended daily value.)
“Bone health is a serious problem for millions of Americans,” says Greg Miller, executive vice president of research, regulatory and scientific affairs for the National Dairy Council (NDC), the nutrition research and education arm of the dairy checkoff program. “Statistics indicate that more people will be affected by osteoporosis in the future unless they adopt healthier eating habits, such as getting three daily servings of dairy foods.”
Research shows that 90 percent of women and teen girls, and 40 to 70 percent of men and teen boys are falling short in getting the recommended amount of calcium in their diets. More than 10 million Americans are already living with osteoporosis, and by the year 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 will have weak bones, according to the 2004 Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health.
Through NDC, dairy producers partner with leading health professional organizations to educate families on how to maintain good bone health at every age by eating a well-balanced diet that includes three daily servings of nutrient- rich low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt.
For more information about the health benefits of dairy foods, go to:www.nationaldairycouncil.org
Dairy Management Inc.