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Fonterra is involved in a ground-breaking study that shows how dairy can help older people be more active.
The research, undertaken by the University of Melbourne, has linked increased dairy consumption with the prevention of falls and fractures in aged-care residents.
The two-year study has already shown promising results, with a 33 per cent reduction in all bone fractures, a 46 per cent reduction in hip fractures and an 11 per cent reduction in falls.
Half the participant’s dairy servings were modestly increased from two to 3.5 serves a day, Fonterra Senior Nutrition Research Scientist, Dr Caroline Gunn explained.
“Very simple intervention – significant results,” Gunn told The Country Sport Breakfast’s Brian Kelly.
Fonterra helped support the study by providing cheddar, parmesan cheese, yogurt, skim milk powder and milk, to supplement the diets of over 7000 residents in 60 aged-care facilities in Australia.
The study was the first of its kind in finding a solution directly through dairy foods, Gunn said.
“We know there’s a lot of untapped potential in dairy foods … but this study demonstrated the important role dairy can play in helping to improve the health and wellness of the older population.”
The reduction in fractures in the study shows that dairy could be an effective, easy and low-cost way to help older people stay active.
This also provided opportunities for Fonterra’s active living business, Gunn said.
“We’re going to continue to leverage our nutrition and science expertise across the brands to help people live more active and healthy lives.”
The study involved people with an average age of around 86 years old, living in aged-care facilities, but Gunn thought the results could also benefit those living independently as well.
“They’ll want to prevent their falls because when they start falling that can often be the turning point for them perhaps not being able to live independently anymore.”
Fonterra’s Foodservice business already supplied rest homes with dairy products and now there was an opportunity to work with these facilities to develop food menus that included more nutrition to benefit residents, Gunn said.