A Danish study that followed 685 mother-child pairs in a prospective study over 20 years, tracking milk consumption during pregnancy and the height of the offspring at birth and age 20, suggests that the amount of milk a woman drinks during pregnancy may affect the adult height of her offspring. “After adjusting for the mother’s height, age, body mass index and many other factors, they found that mothers who drank more than five ounces of milk a day — almost all drank low-fat milk — had bigger babies, on average, than those who drank less. This, the authors write, confirms the results of previous studies.”
What’s the Big Idea?
By the age of 20, children of mothers who drank milk during their pregnancy had an average of 8 percent higher blood levels of IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor, which promotes bone growth. They were also an average of one half-inch taller. “There aren’t many prenatal dietary or environmental factors identified that explain growth in children,” said Thorhallur Halldorsson, a researcher at Center for Fetal Programming at the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen. “Milk drinking may be one. It does increase weight and length at birth, and there’s a possibility that this actually tracks into adult life.”