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Effects of Switching to Fat-Free Milk in Schools Assessed

Removing whole milk and switching from low-fat to fat-free chocolate milk increased purchases

MONDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to fears from the milk industry that removing whole milk from New York City public schools would reduce demand from students, eliminating full-fat milk and switching from low-fat to fat-free chocolate milk actually increased purchases, according to an article in the Jan. 29 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Philip M. Alberti, Ph.D., of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and colleagues analyzed purchasing order data from the New York City public school system, where cafeterias serve approximately 1.1 million children, before and after 2005 to 2006 when the Department of Education removed full-fat milk from schools.

After removing whole milk, and switching from low-fat to fat-free chocolate milk, the reviewers found that purchase orders increased by 1.3 percent in 2009 compared with purchases in 2004. In addition, public school students who drank milk consumed 5,960 fewer calories in 2009 versus 2004, while consuming 619 fewer grams of fat.

"Other school systems can use these results to guide changes to their own school food policies," the authors conclude.

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