Using dairy nutrition to revolutionise aged care diets


We’ve always known that there is a lot of untapped potential in dairy. It’s packed full of nutrition and provides a number of health benefits, including keeping our bones strong as we age – and now it’s official. 

Research by the University of Melbourne has linked milk, cheese and yoghurt with the prevention of falls and fractures in aged care residents. The study found that simply doubling the daily serve of dairy reduced fractures by a third, nearly halved hip fractures, and falls fell by over 10 per cent.

Fonterra Australia’s Registered Dietitian, Annette Yiu, says that studies on finding ways to reduce fractures in aged care residents is not new, although they have mostly focused on pharmaceutical intervention including calcium and vitamin D supplements.

“What’s new is that they’re finding a solution through dairy foods, and Fonterra has played an important part by providing our products, including cheddar and parmesan cheese and skim milk powder, to supplement the diets of more than 7,000 residents in 60 aged care facilities as part of the two-year study.

“It’s incredible that such a simple change can make sure a big difference, and demonstrates the important role dairy, and our business, has to play in improving nutritional outcomes for older Australians.

“It also provides evidence to support policy reforms that improve nutritional outcomes for aged care residents with additional dairy consumption,” Annette said.

“One of the key nutrition challenges in aged care, particularly for frail older adults, is ensuring they are eating enough nourishing food to meet their energy requirements.

“This is significant for all of us as we age, with fracture rates high in the elderly – there’s nearly 19,000 new hip fractures in Australia each year and 30% of all hip fractures occur in aged care.”

You can read Fonterra Australia’s Nutrition Commitments here, and find more information about how dairy can contribute to the health of older Australians here.