A new study has revealed some positive benefits for giving children full-fat milk.
The Canadian study published in the American Journal of Public Health found children who were given full-fat milk were about a kilogram lighter, The Telegraph, London reports.
Lead researcher at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, Jonathon Maguire, said he noticed child obesity rates had risen in North America while whole milk consumption had halved.
More than 2700 children between the age of two and six took part, with researchers looking for a link between weight and vitamin D levels and milk.
Half of the children were given whole milk; a third drank 2 per cent milk and the rest: 1 per cent.
After measuring their Body Mass Index (BMI) and vitamin D levels, The Australian reports, the results suggest children who drank full-fat milk "were less than half as likely to be overweight and a third as likely to be obese" than those who drank 1 per cent milk. It is thought that full-fat milk fills children up for longer, meaning they are less likely to snack.
Maguire said: "Children who drink lower fat milk don't have less body fat, and they also don't benefit from the higher vitamin D levels in whole milk. It's a double negative with low fat milk."
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends the following:
Under 12 months: “Children under 12 months should not be given cow’s milk as the main milk drink, but this can be served in small quantities on cereal or as part of custards with no added sugars. Breastmilk or specially prepared infant formula should be given to infants under 12 months of age as the main milk source.”
Under two years: Children “have relatively high energy requirements and are growing rapidly, so full cream milks, yoghurts and cheeses are recommended for them.
Over two years: “The preferred choices are reduced fat milks, yoghurts and cheeses or calciumen riched alternatives. Milk products and calcium-enriched alternatives are particularly important foods for growing children and adolescents.”
The study concluded that more research needs to be done.