that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are biased against minorities insofar

That the dietary guidelines for americans are biased

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that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are biased against minorities insofar as dairy products are recommended for all U.S. citizens (Bertron et al. 1999). They concluded tha the Guidelines encourage dairy products for daily consumption by all Americans, despite differences in tolerances for dairy products, preferences for other calcium-rich foods and susceptibilities to osteoporosis, as well as the lack of sci- entific evidence of benefit from dairy products for mem- bers of racial minorities. In this regard, federal nutrition This content downloaded from on Mon, 22 Oct 2018 21:21:17 UTC All use subject to
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Wiley * Biological Diversity and Milk Consumption in the United States 513 policies do not yet address the needs of all Americans. [Bertron et al. 1999:156] In this case, recognition of significant population variation in lactase persistence and relatively high frequencies of im- persistence among minorities in the U.S. warrants rethink- ing the explicit national policy of encouraging-indeed, mandating-dairy product consumption by all. Those with different digestive biologies are being forced to conform to European-derived norms of dietary behavior, which the au- thors contend are associated with increased risk for various diseases such as osteoporosis and ovarian cancer, among others. This charge echoed a 1979 lawsuit in which the Federal Trade Commission sued the California Milk Produc- ers Advisory Board for its advertising campaign "Everybody needs milk." However, the judge ruled that there was insuf- ficient evidence that milk was a significant threat to indi- viduals with lactose intolerance, arguing further that Milk is one of the most nutritious foods in the nation's diet, and from the standpoint of the population as a whole, or even significant population groups, is literally "essential, necessary and needed." The withdrawl of milk from any major population group would amount to a nutritional disaster. [Katz 1981:267] A response to PCRM appeared in the same journal three years later in an article titled "Overcoming the Barrier of Lactose Intolerance to Reduce Health Disparities," authored by NDC researchers (Jarvis and Miller 2002). In this coun- terclaim, the authors argued that the relatively high rates of lactose maldigestion and the concomitant low milk intake among minority populations are significant contributors to their higher rates of several chronic diseases (osteoporosis, hypertension, stroke, colon cancer). The basis of the claim is evidence suggesting that calcium and "other dairy related nutrients" may reduce the risk of these diseases, although at present most studies presenting such results have relied on correlations and retrospective data, rather than demon- strating a direct causal link between milk consumption and lower risk of these diseases. Thus, to reduce disparities be- tween the relative health advantages enjoyed by whites, "Physicians can help reduce the disease burden and health care costs in minority populations by committing them- selves to helping their clients overcome the barrier of lactose intolerance" (Jarvis and Miller 2002:64). This is to be ac-
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