Just like your Mom used to tell you, milk appears to have a lot of nutrients that aid in keeping kids healthy. In fact, a new study released this week in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that children who drink flavored or plain milk consume more nutrients and have a lower or comparable body mass index (BMI) than children who don’t drink milk.
Milk does contain many nutrients that are important for children. This research shows that children who drink milk, including plain and flavored milk, have higher intakes of many nutrients that are often low in children’s diets. And kids will find something else to drink, with higher calories and less nutrition, if milk is not on the menu.
Mary Murphy, MS, RD, co-author of the study, says that “Limiting access to flavored milks in schools and elsewhere may have the undesirable effect of further reducing intakes of many essential nutrients provided by milk.”
The study compared nutrient intakes and body mass among 7,557 U.S. children and adolescents ages 2-18 years drinking flavored milk (with or without plain milk), exclusively plain milk and no milk. All comparisons were adjusted for the amount of calories reported as well as age allowing for differences to be examined based on equal consumption of calories and age distributions.
The study results showed milk drinkers had significantly higher intakes of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium than non-milk drinkers. In addition, BMI measures of milk drinkers were comparable to or lower than measures of non-milk drinkers. Intake of added sugars did not differ between flavored milk drinkers and non-milk drinkers. Among females 12-18 years of age, average calcium intakes by flavored milk drinkers and exclusively plain milk drinkers were nearly double the calcium intakes of non-milk drinkers.