The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children switch from whole milk to a lower fat milk at age two. The conventional wisdom is that getting children used to reduced fat milk will help keep them at a healthy weight. Skim, 1%, or 2% milk has fewer calories per cup. It just makes sense, doesn't it?
So here's where things gets confusing. A new study of preschool-aged children published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, a sister publication of the British Medical Journal, finds that low-fat milk was associated with higher weight.
That's right, kids drinking low-fat milk tended to be heavier.
"We were quite surprised" by the findings, Dr. Mark DeBoer told me in an email. He and his co-author, Dr. Rebecca Scharf, both of the University of Virginia, had hypothesized just the opposite.
But they found the relationship between skim-milk drinkers and higher body weights held up across all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. DeBoer says their data also show that low-fat milk did not restrain weight gain in preschoolers over time.
This is not the first study to show such results, but the authors call for further research, as this study did not take into account what types of food the children were consuming or their total caloric intake. And scientists say sugary drinks make a bigger difference in overall child obesity. Link
(Image credit: Flickr user David Goehring)