Tracking 180 five year old girls for five years, scientists at the US government-funded ARS laboratories confirm the influence of a mother on a child's diet, with milk-drinking mothers considerably boosting milk intake of their daughters.
This was the first study to investigate how mothers influence their daughters' beverage-drinking habits and bone health during childhood, according to Jennifer Fisher, a researcher at the Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) in Houston.
In the study, the researchers tested whether mothers' sweetened beverage- or milk-drinking choices affected their daughters' long-term beverage choices, and whether the girls' beverage drinking habits were linked to their bone health.
Sweetened beverages served included both carbonated drinks, and non-carbonated beverages such as fruit drinks, sports drinks and sweetened ice tea.
According to their findings, girls who regularly met their calcium needs over the course of the study drank an average of 13 ounces of milk per day, almost twice the amount consumed by the girls who did not meet their calcium needs.
"Those girls also had significantly better measurements of bone health at the end of the study," reports the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the US government's chief science laboratory that backed the study.
Although both groups drank more sweetened beverages as they got older, only the girls whose mothers were in the habit of frequently serving milk at meals and snacks were still drinking significant amounts of milk - and getting enough calcium - at age nine, they continue.