March 19, 2013
A new study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine says young children who drink skim milk are more likely to gain weight than those who drink whole milk.
The findings go against the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advocates giving low-fat milk to children ages two and up.
"Our original idea was that children who drink high-fat milk, whole milk or two percent milk would be heavier because of the extra fat content in the milk," said the study's author, Mark DeBoer, MD.
"When you looked at the data, children who had a normal weight and were drinking skim milk were more likely to become overweight over the next two years of the study."
Dr. DeBoer has a theory about why children who drink whole milk are less likely to gain weight.
"There may be something about whole milk that induces satiety," said Dr. DeBoer. "That makes you feel full so that you don't then go on and eat a bunch of snack food afterwards."
DeBoer says parents need to remember that other lifestyle choices, like getting plenty of exercise and eating a healthy diet, are still more important to keeping children at the right weight.
"Avoiding juice and avoiding sugar-sweet beverages and getting plenty of exercise are more important than the type of milk the child drinks," said DeBoer.