• 88% of kids aged 1-3 and 76% of kids aged 4-8 consume cow milk on a daily basis
  • Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 4 decades
  • Whole milk consumption lowers obesity risk 40%

New research led by experts at the St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto has reported that children who consumed whole milk had a 40% reduced risk of becoming obese or overweight compared to those who drank milk with reduced-fat.

Childhood obesity is on the rise and has tripled in the past four decades. With about 1 in 3 North American kids overweight or obese, the consumption of whole milk has reduced by 50%.

The team of researchers led by Dr. Jonathon Maguire analyzed 28 studies from seven different countries, which involved 21,000 children in the age group of 1-18, to explore the relationship between consumption of cow’s milk among children and the risk of being obese or overweight.

They excluded studies that involved the undernourished populations and those with diseases other than asthma. Childhood adiposity was measured as BMI z-score, BMI, weight for age, lean body mass, body fat mass, waist circumference, skinfold thickness and prevalence of obesity or overweight.

The different types of cow milk were categorized as skim milk (0.1% fat), 2% fat, whole or homogenized (3.25 % fat).

The international and Canadian guidelines which recommend that children drink low-fat cow milk rather than whole milk from age 2 to reduce obesity risk have been challenged by the findings of this study.

"The majority of children in Canada and the United States consume cow's milk on a daily basis and it is a major contributor of dietary fat for many children," ScienceDaily quoted Dr. Maguire, "In our review, children following the current recommendation of switching to reduced-fat milk at age two were not leaner than those consuming whole milk."

He emphasized that children who drank low-fat milk as per the current recommendation at age two were not leaner compared to those who drank whole milk. He hopes to establish the cause and effect of whole milk and lower risk of obesity via a randomized controlled trial.

The studies reviewed were all observational studies and there is no clarity if whole milk caused the reduced likelihood of obesity or overweight. There were no randomized controlled trials found in the literature to establish the cause and effect.

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Glass of milk. congerdesign - Pixabay