Once you've given birth, you have a lot of decisions to make regarding how you will help your baby's development go smoothly. You want to choose the right foods and beverages that will help your little one develop strong muscles and bones as well as maintain a healthy weight, but that can be easier said than done. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one-third of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and you want to help keep your child from falling into that demographic.
One choice you may have made to help keep your toddler healthy was to give them skim milk rather than whole, since it has less fat and calories in it. However, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia, this may not be the best choice, and might even have a negative effect on your child's weight.
Should you say no to skim?
Health Day reported on the findings, which showed that children who drink skim and low-fat milk may actually be heavier than those who drink other kinds. Researchers examined the milk consumption habits of 11,000 children when they were 2 years old and again at age 4. They also weighed children at both ages. The scientists found that 30 percent of the children were overweight or obese at age 2, and 32 percent were by 4. The overweight and obese children were found to be more likely to drink skim or low-fat milk than those who had a healthy weight.
"For many years, the message to parents has been simple: after about 2 years of age it is recommended to change your child's milk consumption to low-fat or skim milk," Marlo Mittler, a registered dietitian at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, told NewsDay. "This latest study says we need to think this through."
The researchers said that the fat content of whole milk may help children feel more satisfied, and keep them from eating too much throughout the rest of the day.
However, Health Day also spoke to Peter Richel, M.D., chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., who stood by long-standing recommendations from the Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, which state that after age 2, children should switch to low-fat milk to reduce their saturated fat intake.
What type of milk do you give your kids, and why do you choose it? Share your story here!