Skim vs. 2%: What’s best for your child?

Skim vs. 2%: What’s best for your child?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association have agreed for years that kids, over the age of two, should drink skim or low-fat milk to manage weight.

But, a new study from the Archives of Disease in Childhood has discovered that skim and low-fat milks may not be a good aid in weight management for children— if it is not combined with a healthy diet.

As part of the study, a group of experts gathered data on 10,700 children ages two to four years from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Birth Cohort . They looked at the correlation between the kinds of milk kids drank coupled with their body mass index (BMI).


They found that a higher percentage of kids who drank two percent or whole milk were at a normal BMI range. But those who drank one percent or skim milk had higher BMI levels, and were typically considered to be overweight or obese.

Why you ask? Experts say it’s likely because parents who give their kids lower fat milk to help stave off weight gain aren’t doing it in conjunction with a healthy diet.

One of the lead authors for the study says the only way parents will likely see results is if they also limit the total number of calories their child eats.

Nancy Moran, registered dietitian at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. agrees.

“Milk and dairy products provide necessary nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D for kids,” Moran says. “Parents should make sure they are balancing their child’s diet with healthy foods and vegetables but also adding milk and dairy to the menu as well.”

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  1. Exercise is the key to whatever is eaten.

    • agree–the key point was "if it (the milk) is not combined with a healthy diet. of course… as is anything. a lot of research and $ was spent for that too…

  2. So is it ok for 2-4 year olds to drink 1% milk? I have a 3 year, stocky child but not obese. I have him drinking 1% since age 2 because that is what my Costco sells Organic. My family actually totes home 4 different gallons of milk – Whole for baby, 1% spouse, FF me, Organic 1% toddler.

  3. This article missed the mark. Just touches the surface. It is the same with diet food and low-fat choices. These low-fat choices haven't helped to decrease obesity in this nation.

  4. Milk is meant for calves, not for people. Make sure they get enough calcium. Almond milk is a very great alternative for cows milk. Humans are the only species that drink another species breast milk. The dairy industry has done a great job in making us believe that it is good for us. I disagree.

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About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.