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Low-Fat Milk OK for Some Toddlers
Date:7/17/2008

ole milk contains between 3.5 percent and 3.8 percent fat, while reduced-fat milk contains 2 percent fat, according to Condon-Meyers, who added that the term reduced-fat is synonymous with 2 percent.

The reason reduced-fat milk should be fine for kids who are overweight or obese, or have family risk factors such as high cholesterol, is that they'll still be getting some fat in the milk, and they may already have sufficient levels of fat in their bodies.

Condon-Meyers said she would want to carefully evaluate the diet of a child who's a vegetarian because cow's milk may be his or her best source of saturated fat, and children need a small amount of saturated fat to develop properly.

"Our research on children and cholesterol is definitely in its childhood phase. It's really a work in progress," she added.

After age 2, parents should start giving toddlers whatever milk the rest of the family drinks, and at that time, even skim (fat-free) milk is fine, Condon-Meyers said.

"Provided it's not the mainstay of a child's diet, children can make the transition to low-fat or skim milk, regardless of other risk factors," she said.

More information

Here's more from the American Academy of Pediatrics on healthy eating.



SOURCES: Ann Condon-Meyers, R.D., clinical registered dietician, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; July 2008 Pediatrics


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