British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

School-milk intervention trial enhances growth and bone mineral accretion in Chinese girls aged 10–12 years in Beijing

Xueqin DUa1 c1, Kun Zhua1, Angelika Trubea1, Qian Zhanga2, Guansheng Maa2, Xiaoqi Hua2, David R. Frasera1 and Heather Greenfielda1

a1 Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

a2 Institute for Nutrition and Food Safety, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China


A 2-year milk intervention trial was carried out with 757 girls, aged 10 years, from nine primary schools in Beijing (April 1999 – March 2001). Schools were randomised into three groups: group 1, 238 girls consumed a carton of 330 ml milk fortified with Ca on school days over the study period; group 2, 260 girls received the same quantity of milk additionally fortified with 5 or 8 μg cholecalciferol; group 3, 259 control girls. Anthropometric and bone mineralisation measurements, as well as dietary, health and physical-activity data, were collected at baseline and after 12 and 24 months of the trial. Over the 2-year period the consumption of this milk, with or without added cholecalciferol, led to significant increases in the changes in height (≥0·6%), sitting height (≥0·8%), body weight (≥2·9%), and (size-adjusted) total-body bone mineral content (≥1·2%) and bone mineral density (≥3·2%). Those subjects receiving additional cholecalciferol compared with those receiving the milk without added 25-hydoxycholecalciferol had significantly greater increases in the change in (size-adjusted) total-body bone mineral content (2·4 v. 1·2%) and bone mineral density (5·5 v. 3·2%). The milk fortified with cholecalciferol significantly improved vitamin D status at the end of the trial compared with the milk alone or control groups. It is concluded that an increase in milk consumption, e.g. by means of school milk programmes, would improve bone growth during adolescence, particularly when Ca intake and vitamin D status are low.

(Received September 01 2003)

(Revised December 08 2003)

(Accepted February 02 2004)


c1 *Corresponding author: fax +61 2 9351 2114, Email