IDFA delivered its message on the nutritional benefits of flavored milk in a letter sent this week to state governors, boards of education and foodservice directors. In the letter, IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton stressed the importance of calcium for kids and teens and demonstrated the positive effect that offering a variety of milk, including flavored milk, in school cafeterias has on consumption.
"If the discussion of what foods are bad for our children is the sole focus of school wellness policies or obesity prevention policies, we may lose sight of what our children need and lack nutritionally," Tipton said in the letter. "And, according to our latest science, our children clearly need the nine essential nutrients, including calcium, provided by milk and dairy products."
Recent MilkPEP Study
Tipton shared the results of the recent study by the Milk Processor Education Program, which found that total consumption of all milk in schools fell an average of 35 percent when flavored milk was removed as an option. The study also detailed the added expense and combinations of foods that would be necessary to replace the nutrients missed if kids choose not to drink milk.
IDFA has been following the recent trend among many state leaders to limit the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda or sports beverages, in schools. In these instances, the states hope to decrease sugar intake in children and curb weight gain. Although flavored milk is not commonly included in these policies, some school districts have limited flavored milk to a certain number of days each week or removed it completely from their menus.
"Dairy processors realize that our children need to reduce fat and sugar consumption and, as a result, we have invested millions of dollars to reformulate flavored milks," Tipton said. "Nearly 95 percent of flavored milk now sold in schools is low-fat or fat-free."
IDFA supports the proposed federal child nutrition legislation that would require all beverages in schools to be subject to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Under the guidelines, flavored milk is an allowable option.
Read IDFA's letter here.
For more information, contact Liz Lamb, IDFA coordinator of legislative affairs, at (202) 220-3556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.