Dairy and diabetes: the missing ingredient for college kids

The old saying that milk "does a body good" seems to especially apply to college students.

A study from the University of Illinois found that college kids aren't eating enough dairy products — which, according to health experts, puts them at risk for obesity and the health problems associated with it.

The Up Amigos Project

The study was part of the Up Amigos Project, a joint venture between the University of Illinois and the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potos? in Mexico. Researchers are tracking gradual health changes that occur in students based on changes in their BMI, weight, eating habits and exercise.

More than 300 Mexican college applicants were questioned about their food habits and were then evaluated for symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The study accounted for gender, age, physical activity and family history of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


They found that only one in four students was getting the recommended amount of dairy and three-fourths of the 18 to 25-year-old kids were at risk for metabolic syndrome.

Dairy, according to health experts, seems to help ward off weight gain and obesity, but researchers still aren't exactly sure why.

Swapping milk for soda?

Researchers thought that kids in the study might be drinking sugary sodas instead of milk, but the findings suggested otherwise: Only about 25 percent of students drank these sorts of beverages in addition to eating dairy products. But these same students were shown to eat a surplus of calories.

Researcher Margarita Teran-Garcia, U of I professor of food science and human nutrition, says the findings are particularly concerning for Hispanics as many might already have a predisposition to lower levels of "good" cholesterol.


"Obesity is now a more serious public health problem in Mexico than in the United States," Teran-Garcia noted in a news release. "According to new data from a national Mexican survey, 72 percent of adults are overweight or obese, in contrast to 66 to 70 percent of U.S. adults."

Source: Science Daily


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