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Effect of Removing Chocolate Milk on Milk and Nutrient Intake Among Urban Secondary School Students.

  • Author(s): Thompson, Hannah R
  • Ritchie, Lorrene
  • Park, Esther
  • Madsen, Kristine A
  • Gosliner, Wendi
  • et al.
Abstract

Introduction

Schools across the United States have removed sweetened, flavored milk from cafeterias to reduce students' sugar consumption and improve their health. However, evidence on the impact of the removal is limited. We examined the effect of a policy that removed chocolate milk from secondary schools on students' milk consumption and estimated milk-related nutrient intake.

Methods

We collected data on milk selection and consumption during 1 lunch period in 24 California public secondary schools pre-policy (N = 3,158 students in 2016) and post-policy (N = 2,966 students in 2018). Schools had a student population that was 38% Asian and 29% Latino, with 63% qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. We used linear mixed effects models to assess changes in milk selection and waste, and we estimated related changes in added sugars, calcium, protein, and vitamin D consumed from milk.

Results

The proportion of students selecting milk declined 13.6%, from 89.5% pre-policy to 75.9% post-policy (95% CI for difference, 10.8% tο 16.4%), but the proportion of milk wasted remained stable (37.1% vs 39.3%; 95% CI for difference, -0.2% to 4.6%). Although average per-student milk consumption declined by less than 1 ounce per student (from 4.8 oz to 3.8 oz; 95% CI for difference, -1.1 oz to -0.7 oz), we observed no significant reductions in average per-student intake of calcium, protein, or vitamin D from milk. Estimated added sugars from milk declined significantly, by 3.1 grams per student (95% CI, -3.2 g to -2.9 g).

Conclusion

Removing chocolate milk modestly reduced student milk consumption without compromising average intake of key milk-related nutrients, and consumption of added sugars from milk declined significantly. Secondary schools should consider removing chocolate milk to support healthy beverage consumption.

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