A study of 12,829 children aged 9 to 14 conducted by Brigham and WomenÃs Hospital and Harvard University and published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that the more milk children drink, the more obese they become. In addition, the findings indicate that dietary calcium, skim, and 1% milk are bigger culprits than whole milk.
The team concluded that the added calories found in milk, and not the milk itself, appeared responsible for the weight gains. Moreover, since skim and low-fat milk may be consumed more freely, children may be taking in a greater number of calories than they would be if they were drinking whole milk. Skim milk contains 85 calories per 8 ounces, 1% milk has 100 calories per 8 ounces, and whole milk has 150 calories.
Biostatistician Catherine Berkey, who led the study, stated: "The take home message is that children should not be drinking milk as a means of losing weight or trying to control weight."
Dr. Walter Willet of the Harvard School of Public Health, who also worked on the study, stated that the basic drink for children should be water since "in many parts of the world kids donÃt drink any milk at all and they end up with healthy bones." Dr. Willet is concerned about the heavy advertising of milk as necessary and healthy for children.
The study showed that 3 servings of milk a day seemed to be the boundary line. Children who drank more than 3 servings a day were 25% more likely to become overweight than those who drank 2 to 3 servings.