Higher calcium needs to benefit dairy sales

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Calcium Milk Australia Nutrition

Australian dairy producers are looking forward to a sales push from
new calcium requirements published by the government last month.

New guidelines on nutrient intake raise the levels of calcium for adolescents and adults to between 1,000 and 1,300mg each day, about 300mg higher than the former values set in 1991.

The Ministry of Health said the level was raised because of the recognition that there are losses through sweat of some 60mg calcium each day not accounted for in previous estimates.

But with more than one in two Australian children and women falling short of the old recommendation for calcium (according to the last National Nutrition Survey), even greater encouragement will be needed to get consumers to meet the new guidelines.

A lack of calcium leads to a higher risk of the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis in later years. The disease already affects one in two women and a third of men over the age of 60.

Dairy Australia dietitian Maree Garside said: "A glass of milk, a tub of yoghurt or two slices of cheese all provide around 300mg of calcium. An easy way to follow the new advice is for adults and teens to enjoy an extra serve of dairy each day."

Garside said milk, cheese and yogurt typically provide around 50 to 65 per cent of the calcium in the Australian diet and that dairy foods contain substantial amounts of well-absorbed calcium compared with most other foods.

Osteoporosis Australia chief executive Judy Stenmark said: "The increase in recommended calcium intakes by the government serves as a wake-up call to many Australians. It is crucial that all people, especially children, consume enough calcium each day."

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