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Rural kids like milk better (especially if it’s free)

School milk consumption dropped by almost half 
when chocolate was not available

Kids drink more chocolate milk than regular milk when offered a choice, and rural kids drink more milk than urban kids when it’s offered free.

That’s the conclusion of “Impact of the removal of chocolate milk from school milk programs for children in Saskatoon, Canada,” a paper published Jan. 14 in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

The researchers analyzed milk consumption in four urban and two rural elementary schools in the Saskatoon area. They measured both the number of milk servings chosen and the amount wasted. At some schools milk was free and at others for sale.

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“Overall, phases (when both types were available) had significantly more students choose to drink milk when CM (chocolate milk) was available; further, more chose to drink CM than plain milk,” the researchers report.

They say that overall, more urban than rural children chose chocolate milk when both types were available.

“However, once the urban schools offering milk for free were removed from analysis students in rural schools consumed significantly more milk (when both types were available). In both analyses urban students wasted more of the milk they purchased,” the researchers report.

Overall, when only regular milk was available, consumption dropped 41 per cent. The researchers note that while schools might want to limit chocolate milk sales because of unhealthy levels of fat and sugar, that raises concerns over whether it might limit intake of important nutrients. They suggest further study into whether children would accept chocolate milk with less sugar.

The project was supported by Dairy Farmers of Canada.

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