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Low-Fat Milk Does Not Prevent or Reverse Childhood Obesity

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The choice of low-fat over whole milk does not lower obesity rates in children, according to a new study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood. Researchers examined milk consumption and body weight in 10,700 children at ages 2 and 4 as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). Those children who drank 1 percent or skim milk were more likely to be overweight or obese. The American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations to choose low-fat milk as a way to manage weight appear ineffective. Although skim milk is somewhat lower in calories, compared with whole milk, it remains highly caloric, similar to soda. The authors note that milk should not be the only consideration in obesity prevention and suggest other risk factors, such as parental guidance, high-fat diets, and lack of exercise, play important roles.

Scharf RJ, Demmer RT, DeBoer MD. Longitudinal evaluation of milk type consumed and weight status in preschoolers. Arch Dis Child. 2013;0:1-6.

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