NEW YORK - A new study tries to answer the question many parents ask. Should children drink low-fat milk or whole-fat milk?
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says it doesn't matter. The research found that whole-fat milk is just as healthy for kids as low-fat.
The Australian study analyzed 49 children aged four to six for a period of three months as part of a pilot study. All of the children were habitual whole-fat milk drinkers.
Researchers randomly split the kids into two groups and provided the families with the milk in unmarked bottles. Half of them were given low-fat milk.
Then the children underwent physical checks, including blood pressure and body composition.
While the one group had a reduced fat intake, in the end, both groups had similar obesity and cardiovascular health results.
The new study complements previous research from Canada. Researchers looked at more than two dozen studies on the relationship between drinking cow's milk and childhood obesity. Those studies covered almost 21,000 children between the ages of 1 and 18.
They found that children who drank full-fat milk (a.k.a. whole milk) had a 40% lower chance of being overweight compared with those who drank reduced-fat milk.
Another study found that a diet rich in dairy fat may be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. A study published in the journal Plos Medicine challenged the view that full-fat dairy options should be avoided due to saturated fat.
The broader analysis also linked higher dairy fat consumption to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, creating what the George Institute deemed the "most comprehensive evidence to date on the relationship between this more objective measure of dairy fat consumption, risk of cardiovascular disease and death."
While whole milk might be fine for kids, there are still concerns over chocolate milk. Some school districts have banned chocolate milk from the menu due to health concerns including too much sugar.
The bans come despite studies that show it provides more nutrients to children who drink it than those who avoid all milk.