Little research has been conducted on health effects associated with consumption of flavored milk. The purposes of this study were to compare nutrient intakes and body measures among children and adolescents drinking flavored milk (with or without plain milk), exclusively plain milk, and no milk.
Data used in the study included intakes reported in 24-hour dietary recalls and height and weight measurements collected during a physical examination in the 1999--2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The milk drinking status of each person was identified, and nutrient intakes and body mass index (BMI) measures were determined by milk drinking status.
The study population included 7,557 children and adolescents aged 2 to 18 years.
Comparisons among mean milk intakes, energy and nutrient intakes, and BMI measures by milk drinking status were completed using linear regression analysis.
Children and adolescents who included flavored milk in their diets reported higher total milk intakes than consumers of exclusively plain milk (P<0.05). Intakes of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and saturated fat (adjusted for energy intake and age) were generally comparable among milk drinking groups, whereas intakes by milk nondrinkers were significantly lower (P<0.05). Among females aged 12 to 18 years, calcium intakes by flavored and exclusively plain milk drinkers were 992+/-41.5 and 1,038+/-22.5 mg/day, respectively, whereas intake by nondrinkers was 576+/-11.7 mg/day. Intake of added sugars did not differ between flavored milk drinkers and milk nondrinkers. BMI measures of milk drinkers were comparable to or lower than measures of nondrinkers (P<0.05).
Findings from this study suggest that consumption of either flavored or plain milk is associated with a positive influence on nutrient intakes by children and adolescents and is not associated with adverse effects on BMI measures.