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A Little Dairy each Day Helps Kids Control Weight

separator It may sound strange, but kids who drink milk and consume other dairy products each day seem to be less likely to become overweight. A study presented at the American Heart Association meeting in San Francisco in March showed that two servings of dairy per day seemed to lead to a reduction in weight gain in adolescence. People in the study who ate fewer than two servings of dairy per day tended to have an extra inch of fat in a fold of skin.

The interesting thing about this study is that dairy food does contain calories, especially the types of dairy that isn’t low fat. But one theory is that dairy makes people feel more full and satisfied, so they’re less likely to consume lots of calories from other foods. It’s also possible that calcium influences the way the body handles fat. Another possible theory is that kids who eat dairy products every day tend to have healthier, more balanced diets in general.

It’s important for kids to get the calcium they need. Calcium consumption has been decreasing among children, and consumption of soda has risen. Soda comes with virtually no health benefits and plenty of sugar and calories. So replacing the soda with milk a couple of times a day is a good way for kids to enjoy calories that build their bones rather than empty calories that don’t help them nutritionally at all.

Journal of the American Medical Association, 6 March 2002.
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