The cost to the taxpayer of health and social care for sufferers of osteoporosis in the UK is £1.7 billion - £1.8 billion per year, according to Department of Health figures, yet in many cases, the disease is preventable.
The UK's Milk Development Council has organised three summits across the UK to investigate the issue of calcium and bone health. They are designed to put the issue at the top of the agenda.
The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey reveals that 19 per cent of girls and 9 per cent of boys aged between 15-18 years are not getting enough calcium from their diets, increasing their risk of failing to achieve their peak bone mass (at age 20-25) and consequently, of developing osteoporosis later in life.
The summits are designed to stimulate positive debate among key influencers including health professionals, policy makers and educators throughout the country about how to raise awareness of this health issue and promote healthier choices and activities.
Brian Peacock, chairman of the MDC, said: "Low calcium intakes in teenagers is one of the consequences of shifting eating habits within this age group. Substituting milk for nutrient-poor beverages as part of a balanced diet may have beneficial effects on dental health, obesity bone health and nutrient intake generally."
"By creating a platform for positive discussion on tackling the problem, we hope to help play our part in influencing healthy attitudes and lifestyles."