THURSDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Not enough children and teens drink low-fat milk, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.
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Drinking milk is important for children's bone health, but CDC experts advise that although young people need the calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients found in milk, children aged 2 and older should consume low-fat milk and milk products to avoid unnecessary fat and calories.
The research, published in a CDC report titled "Low-fat Milk Consumption Among Children and Adolescentsin the United States, 2007-2008," showed that about 73% of children and teens drink milk, but only about 20% of them say they usually drink low-fat milk (skim or 1%).
Meanwhile, the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey also revealed that about 45% drink reduced-fat milk (2%) and 32% reported they drink whole milk regularly.
Older children and teens drink low-fat milk more often than younger children. Although 13% of kids aged 2 to 5 usually drink low-fat milk, 21% of kids aged 6 to 11 years said they do, along with 23% of teens aged 12 to 19.
Ethnicity and income also seem to play a role in the type of milk children consume. White children drink low-fat milk more often than black or Hispanic children. About 28% of the white participants said low-fat milk was their usual milk type, compared to just 5% of blacks and 10% of Hispanics. Meanwhile, children and teens in the highest income category reported drinking low-fat milk more often than those in the lowest income group.
In summary, the authors of the report wrote: "The overall low consumption of low-fat milk suggests the majority of children and adolescents do not adhere to recommendations by Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and the American Academy of Pediatrics for all children aged 2 years and over to drink low-fat milk. Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama's 'Lets Move!' campaign and 'The Surgeon Generals Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010' have recommended promoting water and low-fat milk and reducing sugar-sweetened beverages as components of comprehensive obesity prevention strategies."
The report, by Dr. Brian Kit and colleagues at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), is published in a September NCHS Data Brief.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
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SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief, Sept. 15, 2011