Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Update: Milk and children: What price good health?

Update from the 1/1/13 NY Times:

The last-minute tax package passed by Senate early Tuesday morning included a nine-month farm bill extension that will prevent an increase in milk prices that was due to hit at the beginning of the year.

(Story originally published December 28, 2012)

If you've been keeping up with the gloom-and-doom that is the news these days, you no doubt have heard that unless our dysfunctional Congress acts quickly on a farm regulation set to expire, milk prices could rise to as high as $6 a gallon.

That brings to mind the ongoing debate over how much milk a kid should drink.

It used to be that milk was regarded as the most important thing growing kids could drink, but that was before we suddenly discovered the phrases "lactose intolerant" and "childhood obesity."

Should parents be convinced their offspring don't need a whole lot of milk each day, a huge spike in price may not be a problem. If, on the other hand, they ascertain the little ones need a lot of milk, the spike could give them a financial migraine.

The latest research just published in the journal Pediatrics says that for most kids two cups a day is about right.

Dr. Jonathon L. Maguire, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto and lead author of the research article, said Canadian scientists studied more than 1,300 healthy 2- to 5-year-olds, collecting data on diet and physical activity. They also measured iron and vitamin D levels through blood samples.

Such things as bottle use, time of year, skin pigmentation and body mass index had significant effects on the optimal amounts of milk. Children with darker skin, for example, needed three to four cups of milk to get sufficient vitamin D in winter. Those who used only a bottle failed to maintain sufficient stores of vitamin D and iron.

You can read the report online.

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