The below information is a summary of the “Impact on Milk Consumption and Nutrient Intakes From Eliminating Flavored Milk in Elementary Schools” article within Nutrition Today (May/June).
Disclosure: This study was funded by the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP).
1. Quantify the impact of changes in flavored milk availability on school children’s milk consumption.
2. Explore potential implications on nutrient intakes at school meals and cost to schools as a result of changes in milk consumption.
• More than two-thirds of milk consumed at school is flavored milk and primarily low-fat or fat free.
• Many schools have removed/limited flavored milk because of “added sugar” concerns; little research has examined the impact of this change on children’s milk and nutrient intake.
• Children purchased 26 percent less milk when the flavors were limited/removed. They also threw away 11.4 percent more of the milk purchased, resulting in an average of 37.4 percent decline in total milk consumption.
• When looking to replace the nutrient loss, it was observed that three to four additional foods would be required over the course of a week, which would increase calories and fat consumed and cost this particular school district up to $4,600 (per 100 students) more per year in food costs.
• This study was observational and added research is needed to further examine milk consumption at school and the impact on total dietary intake if flavored milk is removed in larger samples representative of the US population.
• Research to measure the acceptability and intake of alternative foods chosen to replace milk’s nutrients would be important to establish if the trade-off is warranted.