American children are drinking too little milk and what they are consuming is too high in fat, according to a Penn State study.
"There is a strong correlation between dairy consumption and calcium," says Sibylle Kranz, assistant professor of nutritional sciences. "While there is calcium in fortified orange juice, for example, it is not as bioavailable as that found in milk." She notes that people need to take calcium with vitamin D and some protein for optimal use in the body.
Kranz, working with Po-Ju Lin, doctoral student and David A. Wagstaff, statistician, looked at children's average daily dairy intake and compared it with that recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's My Pyramid dairy recommendations and Adequate Intake of calcium for various ages from 2 through 18. Their findings, reported online in press in the Journal of Pediatrics, are that only 2 to 3 year olds meet the MyPyramid dairy recommendations.
They also noticed that most children choose to consume more of the highest fat varieties of cheese, yogurt, ice cream and dairy-based toppings.
The various recommendations for dairy intake in children established by a variety of organizations suggest two cups for 1 to 3 year olds, two to three cups for 4 to 8 year olds, and three to four cups for 9 to 18 year olds depending on the recommending agency.
Only the youngest age group met these requirements. Among 4 to 8 year olds, consumption dropped below two cups a day and remained steady for 9 to 13 year olds, and declined again among 14 to 18 year olds. All these dairy and calcium intake patterns were observed while the recommendation increased to three and then four cups daily.
"Although the recommendations are all for low fat dairy," says Kranz. "People are still consuming great amounts of whole fat dairy products."
The researchers found that 43 to 51 percent of the dairy consumed by younger children was from whole-fat sources with only 5 to 11 percent
|Contact: Andrea Elyse Messer|