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The Briefing

2023 Dairy Council Nutrition Lecture at Ulster University

by Aiken PR


Professor David J Armstrong, Consultant Rheumatologist (WHSCT), Clinical Lead for Fracture Liaison and Osteoporosis, and Visiting Professor at Ulster University’s Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), gave an insightful presentation into dairy and bone health at this year’s Dairy Council Nutrition Lecture at Ulster University, Coleraine. 

Over 130 nutrition students, academics, and health professionals gathered at the 34th Lecture entitled Dairy and Bone Health – from the Bronze Age to Balmoral where Professor Armstrong posited that, for conditions such as osteoporosis, milk may represent the ultimate preventative medicine.

Citing Dr Sandra Iuliano’s 2021 study published in the BMJ, which found increased dairy intake reduced falls and fractures amongst care home residents by almost 50% for hip fracture, Professor Armstrong noted not only the beneficial link between dairy and musculoskeletal health, but the potential impact for Northern Ireland where there are over 2,000 hip fractures per year.

Professor Armstrong said: “Osteoporosis is a common but often silent condition affecting 3 million people across the UK alone. While many effective drugs are available to increase bone density and reduce fracture risk, targeting at risk populations is difficult, and medical care is expensive.”

Speaking at the lecture, Professor Armstrong traced the history of dairy farming in Europe and how modern–day medical and nutritional guidelines continue to recommend dairy foods as part of a healthy and balanced diet.


He continued: “The link between better musculoskeletal health and dairy produce is not new. Dairy farming first developed in Anatolia around 7000BC, spreading gradually across Europe and was evident in Ireland from at least 3800BC. Leading medical and nutritional guidelines today continue to recommend dairy produce as part of a balanced and healthy diet. Indeed, dairy farming and dairy produce have contributed to the spread of civilisation and good musculoskeletal health across the millennia, and for many conditions milk still represents the ultimate preventative medicine.”

Newly appointed Chief Executive of the Dairy Council, Ian Stevenson, welcomed the expertise of Professor Armstrong and further insights into the field of human nutrition.

Commenting he said: “The Annual Dairy Council Nutrition Lecture is a testament to the long and successful partnership between Ulster University and the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, bringing leading global research to academics, nutrition students and health professionals here in Northern Ireland. I look forward to building on this success in my new role.”

The annual event hosts a variety of leading researchers from universities around the world who deliver lectures on contemporary issues and emerging research within the field of human nutrition.

Professor Sean Strain OBE, Emeritus Professor of Human Nutrition, Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), Ulster University said the event has enabled access to world–leading researchers since it first began in 1991.

“We’re delighted to work once again with the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland in providing opportunities to access some of the leading international researchers in the field of human nutrition, including this year’s speaker, Professor Armstrong.

“Since its first iteration in January 1991, the Annual Nutrition Lecture has become a real academic highlight on the University calendar.”