School milk prevents bowel cancer, study finds

Jan 17, 2011

Scientists at the University of Otago have found that regular consumption of school milk significantly reduced the risk of bowel cancer in adulthood.

A national study, just published in the American Journal of Epidemiology School Milk and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A National Case-Control Study, found that the risk of was 30 percent lower in people who drank school milk daily. The reduction in risk was greatest in those who drank 1200 or more half-pint bottles of milk while at school.

The study was conducted by Associate Professor Brian Cox and Dr Mary Jane Sneyd of the Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine of the Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago. The researchers are funded by the Director’s Cancer Research Trust. Grants-in-aid for the study were provided by the Genesis Oncology Trust, and the Dean’s Bequest Funds of the Dunedin School of Medicine.

The researchers believe that the calcium provided by the free milk-in-schools programme from 1937 to 1967 may be responsible for the dramatic reduction in risk of bowel cancer that has occurred in New Zealand for people born between 1938 and 1953. Studies in adults have suggested that calcium consumption may reduce bowel cancer risk but very few studies of consumption in childhood have been done.

“The results of this study, if confirmed, would provide a means of reducing the very high rates of bowel cancer in New Zealand," Associate Professor Cox says.

He also suggests that “the study should encourage a greater focus on factors in childhood that affect the risk of bowel cancer and health overall.”

"The research team is currently planning further research which, if funding can be obtained, could confirm that the provision of milk at school can significantly reduce the risk of bowel cancer in future generations." The study involved obtaining information from people newly diagnosed with bowel cancer and people of a similar age without bowel cancer selected from the general electoral roll.

Responses about drinking milk when at school corresponded to the historical reports of participation. People also often remembered the unpleasant occasion when the was warm and "yucky".

Explore further: Toward a home test for detecting potentially dangerous levels of caffeine

Provided by University of Otago

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New bowel cancer gene discovery

Nov 10, 2010

Targeting a specific genetic area linked to survival in patients with advanced bowel cancer could help increase survival rates by up to three months, new University research has found.

Boosting key milk nutrients may protect against cancer

Jun 08, 2007

Key milk nutrients, calcium and vitamin D, may do more than just help keep your bones strong. Increasing intake of calcium and vitamin D could reduce the risk for cancer in women by at least 60 percent, according to a new ...

Alcohol and smoking are key causes for bowel cancer

Jun 02, 2009

A new global study has found that lifestyle risk factors such as alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking are important risk factors for bowel cancer. Researchers have shown that people who consume the largest quantities ...

Recommended for you

Older adults are at risk of financial abuse

36 minutes ago

Nearly one in every twenty elderly American adults is being financially exploited – often by their own family members. This burgeoning public health crisis especially affects poor and black people. It merits the scrutiny ...

Medical internet could transform health care

46 minutes ago

The medical Internet is not yet here, but the widespread availability of electronic medical records and enhanced data-storage capabilities are pushing it closer to reality. As now envisioned, this new cyberspace ...

Better care for transgender youth

1 hour ago

A fact sheet on ways to improve the wellbeing of transgender youth in New Zealand has been developed at the University of Auckland.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

geokstr
1 / 5 (2) Jan 17, 2011
I would really like to know how they filtered out the possible effects of the other 812,475,389,211.23 factors that could potentially have been influential in these "results" of this "study" that proves exactly nothing.

But it did soak up another free-floating earmark that somebody else with some other "scientific" project might have snatched up if they hadn't seen it first.