Substituting low-fat and fat-free milk for whole milk in schools can greatly reduce students' consumption of calories and fat and help combat childhood obesity, says a new study.
It examined the impact of the New York City Department of Education's decision to switch from whole fat to low-fat/fat-free milk in 2005. The change meant that a milk-drinking student was exposed to 33 fewer calories and 3.4 fewer grams of fat per school day, which works out to nearly 6,000 fewer calories and more than 600 fewer grams of fat a year.
The effect was even greater for a student who drinks white milk -- 7,000 fewer calories and more than 900 fewer grams of fat a year. The researchers also found that school purchases of milk increased 1.3 percent after the switch.
Making changes to school milk policy can help reduce students' consumption of calories and fat without decreasing their intake of important vitamins and minerals, the researchers concluded.
The study appears in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.