Diet quality

When policies should promote drinking milk rather than limiting it!

little boy eating yogurt

This study has investigated the impact of removing chocolate milk in an elementary school population. First results showed that this approach is not without negative consequences.

Studies show that milk and dairy products are very important for children’s health as they contain many nutrients for growth and development. Sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D are required during childhood and adolescence because a significant amount of adult bone mass is accrued during this time. Dairy products are a good source of these nutrients as well as other important nutrients. Unfortunately without school-based milk programs, children are not likely getting enough.

By the way, current policies in many schools have led to the removal of flavoured milk because of the amount of added sugar. In this study, researchers used nutrient modelling to replace what was lost when children stopped drinking milk, and found that combinations of foods tested were not feasible due to cost and the number of additional foods needed to replace the missing nutrients.

While some schools may limit access to flavoured milk, presumably due to concerns that these beverages may provide unhealthy levels of added sugars and fat, the study showed that a very low number of children are drinking milk in school, the numbers dropped significantly (41%) when flavoured milk was removed. Additionally, of the students who chose plain milk there was a greater amount of milk wasted. Given children’s preferential intake of chocolate milk or yogurt as an healthy alternative further studies into whether children will accept lower sugar formulations need to be investigated.

Source: Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism