Washington: College-age kids who don't consume at least three servings of dairy daily put themselves at three times the risk of developing metabolic syndrome than those who do, US researchers have warned. "And only one in four young persons in the study was getting the recommended amount of dairy," said Margarita Teran-Garcia, a University of Illinois professor of food science and human nutrition.

That alarming finding means that three-fourths of the 18- to 25-year-old college applicants surveyed are at risk for metabolic syndrome, the researcher said. Metabolic syndrome occurs when a person has three of the following risk factors: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol and lipid levels.

Having this disorder greatly increases a person's chances of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, she said. Although scientists believe that dairy products guard against obesity and the health problems that accompany extra weight, they aren't sure how it happens.

"It may be the calcium, it may be the proteins. Whatever the mechanism, evidence suggests that dairy products are effective in attaining and maintaining a healthy weight," she said.


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