Research shows that low-fat and fat-free dairy foods are essential to children and adolescents’ development and overall wellness.
Why is dairy important?
Dairy foods provide nine essential nutrients that help improve children’s overall diet and health. Plus, milk is the number-one source for calcium, vitamin D and potassium, three nutrients that both kids and adults are lacking.
What are the recommended daily amounts of dairy needed for a child’s diet?
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize the importance of dairy in a healthy diet and calls for children to increase consumption of lowfat or fat-free milk and milk products to the recommended daily amounts:
2 cups for children ages 2-3 years
2 1/2 cups for children ages 4-8 years
3 cups for those ages 9 years and older
The Dietary Guidelines also note that it is “especially important to establish the habit of drinking milk in young children, as those who consume milk at an early age are more likely to do so as adults.”
This has lifelong benefits because research shows consuming milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents.