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National Nutrition Week: Getting the right balance for growing bodies

15 October 2017: - Lion Dairy & Drinks is shining a light on dairy – with the milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives category being the second most under consumed food group in Australians’ diet this National Nutrition Week.

The 2017 National Nutrition Week (15-21 October 2017) brings nutrition front of mind for many, Lion Dairy & Drinks (LDD) is revealing the concerning realities about the second most under consumed food group in the Aussie diet; milk, yoghurt, cheese (dairy) and alternatives[i]. National Nutrition Week is timely reminder not just for the nine out of 10 Australians who are not getting their recommended daily intake of dairy or alternativesi but also for parents, as statistics show Aussie children’s dairy consumption declines as they age, whilst at the same time their nutrient needs and recommended serves of dairy or alternatives, increasesi.

Complementary to National Nutrition Week, LDD launched Milk Loves You Back this year, to remind Australians of the natural goodness contained in milks like Dairy Farmers, Pura and Masters that boast a broad range of health benefits from 8 natural nutrients.

Growing Bodies and Bones

Alarmingly, dairy consumption dramatically declines during pre-teen and teenage years, with only 1 in 50 (2%) Australian teenagers aged 12-18 year consuming their recommended serves of dairy or alternativesi. While children aged 2-3 are the biggest consumers of dairy or alternatives i, there’s a worrying decline in consumption as they growi. This decline occurs at a critical time when childrens’ nutrient needs and recommended serves of dairy or alternative increasesi. This is to support their body and bone growth, particularly at the ages of 12-14 for girls and 13-15 for boys, when a quarter of adult bone mass is built[ii].

According to LDD’s own research, reassuringly, 4 in 5 (78%) Aussie children (aged 5-17) believe that nutrients in dairy milk gives us strong teeth and bones, and almost half believe milk helps our bodies as we grow (47%)[iii]. That said, calcium, along with iron, are the most commonly under-consumed nutrients in the Australian diet[iv]. Notably, 95% of children aged 2-3 met their recommended nutrient intake, except iron, similarly 95% of those aged 4-8 met their recommended except for iron and calciumi. In contrast, 71% of boys and more than 90% of girls aged 14-18 years did not achieve adequate calcium intakes, in part due to higher nutrient needs and lower dairy consumption in older childrenvii.

Milk is, in fact, one of the richest sources of calcium in the dietvii. Milk and dairy foods like Dairy Farmers, Pura and Masters boast a broad range of health benefits. It also has 8 natural nutrients including not just calcium, but protein and phosphorus - which are critical for growing bones, as part of a balanced diet- as well as potassium, iodine and vitamins B2, B5 and B12.

Getting the Balance Right

Contrary to the 3 in 10 (31%) parents incorrectly assuming boys and girls have the same recommended dairy intake[v], recommended dairy or alternative serves vary – children aged 2-3 and girls 4-8 years should consume 1½ serves of dairy per day as part of a balanced diet, however for boys aged 4-8 it increases to 2 serves per day and recommended serves of dairy per day continues to increase with age up to 3½ serves per day for teens 12-18 years[vi].

A serve of dairy comes in many different forms. It can be as easy as a glass of milk in the morning (250ml), a small tub of yogurt (200g) or 2 slices (40g) of cheese in a sandwich. Or for a more sophisticated option, pairing your dairy with your fruit and vegetables - Australian analysis suggests that school lunches provide about 40% of children’s daily food/ energy intakes.[vii]  

Here are some simple ways to get dairy in to your kids lunchbox:

Yoghurt: Try a yogurt pouch, (70g may suit little kids or >100g for bigger kids) or a small tub, it’s perfect at recess (handy hint: you can freeze the yoghurt pouch/tub to stay cool).

Milk: Leftover pasta with cheese sauce (made with milk and cheese) can be a great alternative to a sandwich, paired with cauliflower or broccoli.  For the kids, a small UHT regular or flavoured milk is a great snack for the active ones, providing all the goodness of milk in an easy product you can keep in the pantry and pop in the lunchbox.

Cheese: Try adding 1 or 2 slices of cheese in the sandwich, or grated cheese in a wrap or sprinkled on top of a pasta or a salad.

Hawthorn legend and father of four, Shane Crawford adds: “I am all about getting the balance right and this has never been more important than when a dad. We work hard to make sure our boys get the right nutrients to keep them fired up throughout the day. I often stop for a milkshake after a runabout with the boys, or whip together our favorite smoothie, to help not only their little bodies refuel, but mine too!”

For more information on the 8 essential nutrients in milks like Dairy Farmers, Masters and Pura, recommended daily serves and more, visit www.milklovesyouback.com.au.

Consumer Research Methodology:

The research was commissioned by Alt/Shift on behalf of Lion Dairy & Drinks and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard. Lonergan Research surveyed 1,037 Australians aged 18+ and 530 children aged 5-17 years old. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel, between 30 March and 4 April 2017. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016. Australian Health Survey: Consumption of Food Groups from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2011-12 Cat no, 4364.0.55.012 -  (Only 10% of Australians consumed their recommended serves of dairy or alternatives compared to 4% for vegetables and legumes/beans, 31% for fruit, 30% for grain (cereals) and 14% for lean meats and alternatives.)

[ii] Thomas B, Bishop J. Manual of Dietetic Practice (4th ed). Blackwell Publishing: Carlton; 2007.

[iii] Lonergan Research 2017, commissioned by Alt/Shift on behalf of Lion Dairy & Drinks. Online Survey of 1037 Australian adults (nationally representative) and 530 children

[iv] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015, Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes, 2011-12  cat. no. 4364.0.55.008 (http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.008~2011-12~Main%20Features~Calcium~401)

[v] Lonergan Research 2017, commissioned by Alt/Shift on behalf of Lion Dairy & Drinks. Online Survey of 1037 Australian adults (nationally representative) and 530 children

[vi] Recommended number of serves for children, adolescents and toddlers https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each...

[vii] Bell, A.C.; Swinburn, B.A. What are the key food groups to target for preventing obesity and improving

nutrition in schools? Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 2004, 58, 258–263. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Lion Dairy & Drinks
Elise Gare, External Relations Director, Lion Dairy & Drinks
Mobile: 0437 306 437
Email: elise.gare@lionco.com

Robyn Riley
External Relations Manager, Lion Dairy & Drinks
Mobile: 0419 255 118
Email: robyn.riley@lionco.com