Reduced-fat milk in schools decreases fat, calorie intake among students

February 4, 2010

Removing whole milk from school cafeterias and replacing it with low-fat or fat-free milk can help students consume significantly less fat and fewer calories, finds a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluation of New York City's Department of Education.

In 2005, at the urging of the community, the Department of Education began limiting the availability of whole milk and sweetened flavored milk available in New York public schools. Only low-fat milk, fat-free white milk and fat-free chocolate milk were offered to the city's 1.1 million schoolchildren.

Although data on student consumption was not available, an analysis of the school system's purchasing data indicated milk purchases experienced a slight increase from 2004 to 2009. If the fat and calories were evenly distributed throughout all enrolled students, the milk policy change led children to consume 3,484 fewer calories and 382 fewer fat grams over the course of the school year, CDC said.