Health Tips: Excess Toddler Weight: Is Skim Milk Helping?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association recommend that all children drink low fat or skimmed milk after the age of two to reduce their saturated fat intake and ward off excess weight gain. But the evidence to back up this stance is mixed, say the authors, who wanted to find out whether milk consumption patterns among two-year-olds affected weight gain.

Researchers asked the parents/primary caregivers of almost 11,000 children about their milk consumption—skim, one percent, two percent, full fat, or soy—when the children were two years old and again when they were four. At both time points, the prevalence of overweight/obesity was high, affecting 30 percent of two-year-olds and 32 percent of four-year-olds.

When the researchers looked at weight gain trends over time, they found no overall differences between those who drank skim/one percent and those who drank two percent/full fat milk. This suggests that low-fat milk confers no overall advantage.