Risk Of Obesity In Children Appears To Be Reduced When Drinking Whole Milk

milk splash. whole milk may reduce obesity
Photo by arftemtation, c/o Pixabay.

The risk of obesity in children appears to be reduced when drinking whole milk. This surprising claim is supported by a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which shows that children who drink whole milk may be less likely or prone to be overweight or suffer from obesity compared with children who consume reduced-fat milk.

This finding seems to fly in the face of earlier understanding that reduced-fat milks would be less likely to pile pounds of fat onto children. It flies in the face of recommendations to switch to reduced-fat milks.

Scientists from St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health in Toronto, Canada did a meta-analysis of 28 studies from seven countries. They examined the  relationship between children drinking cow’s milk and the risk of being overweight or obese. 

None of these studies showed that the children drinking reduced-fat milk had a lower risk of being overweight or obese. The implication being that drinking whole milk was better for these children in terms of risk of becoming fatter. In 18 of the 28 studies, children who drank whole milk were less likely to be overweight or obese.

Jonathon Maguire, lead author of the article and a pediatrician at St. Michael’s Hospital stated from their press release:-

“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.”

“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 also stated:-

“All of the studies we examined were observational studies, meaning that we cannot be sure if whole milk caused the lower risk of overweight or obesity. Whole milk may have been related to other factors which lowered the risk of overweight or obesity,” Dr. Maguire said.

“A randomized controlled trial would help to establish cause and effect but none were found in the literature.”

There may be a number of factors at work. Socioeconomic factors can not be ruled out – we know low incomes have an impact on the quality of healthy eating indices like HEI. This study was observational so there is no proof that drinking whole milk produces a lower risk of obesity but there is an association.

See the article.

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