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Dairy Consumption Helps Adolescent Girls Lose Weight, Suggests U.S. Study

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MONTREAL (CP) - Drinking milk not only helps adolescent girls ward off osteoporosis in later life but can also help them lose weight now, suggests a preliminary U.S. study presented at an obesity conference Tuesday.

A study of 323 adolescent Hawaiian girls found they lost weight and abdominal girth by consuming just half the U.S. Food Guide's daily recommendation of three dairy servings.

However, the losses were offset with the consumption of soft drinks.

"It suggests that consuming more dairy would help have a slimmer middle and that it can also help you with maintaining weight, said Rachel Novotny, chairman of the nutrition department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

"But you need to watch the soda intake."

She outlined the findings at a symposium sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

While the results appear to buttress industry arguments about the health benefits of milk, Novotny said her research wasn't funded by the dairy industry.

In fact, she said it came as an offshoot of studying the impact of reduced calcium consumption on bones and first menstruations of young Caucasian and Asian girls.

The results are believed to be the first involving girls of Asian ethnicity. But they mirror previous findings about the weight benefits of calcium consumption.

A Quebec study released in July said women who avoid calcium have bigger waist sizes than those who consume moderate or elevated amounts of calcium.

© The Canadian Press, 2003

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