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Could Drinking Milk While Pregnant Make Your Kid Taller?

Study says pregnant women who drink more milk may have taller babies
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

Turns out all those Cindy Crawford milk ads from the early '90s weren't lying: Milk really does do a body good. According to a new study, drinking just one glass of milk a day during your pregnancy isn't just good for you, it's good for baby, too—it helps him grow taller. And we're not just talking at birth, here. Research shows the effects of milk drinking during pregnancy can impact your kid's height during teenage years and even through adulthood.

While scientists have known for years that mom's milk intake during pregnancy has led to bigger babies at birth, this is the first time any links have been made to its lifelong impacts. And it's all pretty interesting.

Here's how they did it: Nutrition experts from Iceland, Denmark and the U.S. tracked the cases of 809 women living in Denmark in 1988 and 1989, taking note of just how much milk they guzzled while pregnant. Once born, the study's leaders recorded the height and weight stats of their babies, and then patiently waited nearly 20 more years before following up again. (Talk about a long wait.)

After the almost two decades had passed, height, weight and other stats were collected from those babies once more—now all grown-up. And the conclusions were pretty clear: If moms in the study drank at least a quarter of a pint of milk every day while pregnant, their kids were generally taller in adulthood—regardless of gender.

But there's more: By their late teens, these kids also had higher levels of insulin in their bloodstream, which means they were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Now if that doesn't make you want to step away from the computer right now and pour yourself a tall glass of milk, maybe this will: In May, British scientists also discovered that the good stuff helps boost babies' IQs, too. How come? Apparently milk's iodine-rich makeup produces special hormones made by the thyroid gland, which in turn have a positive effect on brain development and growth.

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