Official recommendations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid and the USDA/Department of Health and Human Services’

(DHHS) Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recognize milk and milk products as important components of a healthy diet. The food guide pyramid recommends two to three servings a day from the milk, yogurt, and cheese group. The dietary guidelines for Americans also recommend that children and adults aim for two or three servings from this group each day (USDA/DHHS 2000). In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy statement, Calcium Requirements of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, in which it stated (American Academy of Pediatrics 1999),

Recent studies and dietary recommendations have emphasized the importance of adequate calcium nutriture in children, especially those undergoing the rapid growth and bone mineralization associated with pubertal development. The current dietary intake of calcium by children and adolescents, however, is well below the recommended optimal levels. The available data support recent recommendations for calcium intakes of 1200 to 1500 mg/day beginning during the preteen years and continuing through adolescence.