April 22/The Irish Times-- Teenage girls and young women have been urged to increase their milk consumption to improve their calcium intake.

Martina Higgins, chief executive of Safefood which undertook the review, said it was clear that although nine out of 10 people in Ireland drink milk and over 50% drink it more than once a day, young women and teenage girls would benefit from drinking more.

"Recent research has revealed that 23% of women are not currently meeting the recommended intake of calcium, and 42% of teenage girls have inadequate intake of calcium."

A director of Safefood, Dr Cliodhna Foley Nolan, said her organization's research had found a perception among women and teenage girls that milk was a high-fat food. "Milk is neither a high-fat nor a high-saturated-fat food and contains many essential nutrients including protein, calcium and the water-soluble B vitamins required for a healthy diet."

The National Dairy Council echoed Safefood's comments, adding that it would shortly be rolling out a new information program aimed specifically at schools to promote milk to children and teenagers.

From the April 28, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash