A new study has shown that young people reduce their intake of dairy products as they enter their twenties.
Calcium and dairy products play major roles in health maintenance and the prevention of chronic disease.
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis researchers looked at 1,500 young adults aged 15 to 20.5 years and found that during the transition from middle adolescence (high school) to young adulthood (post-high school), females and males respectively reduced their daily calcium intakes by an average of 153 mg and 194 mg.
Although 38pct of females and 39pct of males increased their intake of calcium over 5 years, but the majority reduced their intake.
During middle adolescence, more than 72pct of females and 55pct of males had calcium intakes lower than the recommended level of 1,300 mg/day.
Similarly, during young adulthood, 68pct of females and 53pct of males had calcium intakes lower than the recommended level of 1,000 mg/day.
The study also found that time spent watching television and lactose intolerance during middle adolescence was associated with lower calcium intake in young adulthood.
"The findings of this study indicate that future interventions designed to promote improvements in calcium intake should encourage the families of adolescents to serve milk at meals," said Dr. Nicole I. Larson, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
"In addition, interventions targeted to female adolescents should build concern for healthful eating, develop confidence in skills for healthful eating and reduce exposure to television advertisements.
"Interventions targeted to male adolescents should emphasize opportunities to taste calcium-rich food, the promotion of healthful weight management behaviors and supporting peers to engage in healthful eating behaviors," she added.