Children's dairy intake in the United States: too little, too fat?J Pediatr 2007; 151(6):642-6, 646.e1-2JPed
To compare reported dairy/calcium intake with intake recommendations and examination of food sources and fat levels of dairy intake in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002.
Dietary, anthropometric, and sociodemographic data for 2- to 18-year-olds (n = 7716) were evaluated to compare intakes of dairy (MyPyramid) and calcium (Adequate Intake [AI]) recommendations. US Department of Agriculture food codes were used to identify mutually exclusive food groups of dairy-contributing foods, which were ranked in descending order proportional to total intake. Complex sample survey Student t tests were used to determine statistical significance among intakes in 4 age groups and between reported and recommended intakes.
Dairy consumption was not significantly different among age groups, but only 2- to 3-year-olds met the MyPyramid recommendation. Calcium intake was significantly different among age groups, and 2- to 8-year-olds met the AI. Intake of flavored milk ranged from 9% to 18%. More than half of the milk consumed by 2- to 3-year-olds was whole milk, and, with the exception of yogurt consumption in 2- to 3-year-olds, children choose to consume more of the highest-fat varieties of cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and dairy-based toppings.
Dairy and calcium intakes are inadequate in 4- to 18-year-olds. Most children consume the high-fat varieties of milk and dairy products. Focusing nutrition guidance efforts on increasing the intake of the low-fat dairy products, with special emphasis on increasing calcium intake in school-age children and adolescents through flavored low-fat milk products, may be beneficial.