A recent analysis of Colorado school milk use conducted by the Western Dairy Association found the average student received only 2.6 milk servings each week, compared to the national average of 3.7 servings. This 30 percent lower level translates into 40 fewer servings of milk each school year – roughly the equivalent of two entire weeks’ worth of recommended calcium intake for students.
At that pace, a child will be deprived of nearly half a year’s calcium over their entire childhood. This lower calcium and key nutrient intake puts student health at risk.
What is the cause?
The lower milk usage is driven by various district-specific decisions, most notably the elimination of flavored milks from school cafeterias. The study found schools that do not offer flavored milk, especially chocolate, see much lower overall milk usage when the elimination occurs.
Over the past three years, strawberry and other flavors have disappeared from school cafeterias. Now, 13 percent of students have lost access to chocolate – up from 8 percent a year ago.
Schools were categorized based on their recent changes in the offering of flavored milks. For the schools that eliminated all flavors at least two years ago, the study found that those students receive 1.68 milk servings each week. That’s less than half the national average – a full 2 servings below the average.
A general assumption is that when flavored milk is eliminated, kids will choose plain milk. Not so. No school that eliminated flavored milk (that had reported data) has seen a rebound in milk consumption – only decline in sales of between 30 and 76 percent. PD
—From Western Dairy Association (Click here to read the rest of the report.)