Researchers claim healthcare savings if dairy consumption increases

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th December 2011

Researchers at the University of South Australia are claiming that at least two billion dollars could be slashed from the annual healthcare budget if Australians increased their dairy intake.

According to researchers from the university’s Health Economics and Social Policy Group, an estimated 65 per cent of Australians currently consume less than the recommended serves of dairy foods (milk, cheese, yoghurt and custard).

Professor Leonie Segal said the potential healthcare savings equate to the entire annual budget for public health in Australia.

“The largest healthcare savings were associated with the maintenance of a healthy body weight,” Prof Segal said. “Other calculated healthcares savings came from dairy’s beneficial effects on type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and osteoporosis.”

The research, which was presented to a conference of the Nutrition Society conference in New Zealand today, concluded that there is strong justification for developing interventions focused on increasing dairy consumption to reduce the costs of diet-related disease.

Dairy Australia dietitian, Glenys Zucco commented that, “Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt provide a unique package of nutrients including calcium, high quality protein, zinc, potassium and vitamin A. Most Australians require three serves of dairy foods every day to meet their calcium requirements. A serve is equal to a cup of milk, two slices of cheese or a tub of yogurt.”