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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Jan 29;59(3):70-3.

Effects of switching from whole to low-fat/fat-free milk in public schools - New York city, 2004-2009.


In 2005, the New York City (NYC) Department of Education (DOE) began reviewing its public school food policies to determine whether changes could help address the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity in NYC. DOE determined that reducing consumption of whole milk and increasing consumption of fat-free or low-fat milk could help decrease students' fat and calorie intake while maintaining calcium consumption. However, milk industry advocates and others expressed concern that phasing out whole milk might decrease overall student demand for milk. Nevertheless, during 2005-2006, DOE removed whole milk from cafeterias in all public schools serving the city's approximately 1.1 million schoolchildren. To assess the effects of the switch on milk consumption, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) analyzed system-wide school milk purchasing data. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that DOE school milk purchases per student per year increased 1.3% in fiscal year 2009 compared with 2004 purchases. By removing whole milk and switching from low-fat to fat-free chocolate milk, NYC public school milk-drinking students were served an estimated 5,960 fewer calories and 619 fewer grams of fat in 2009 than they were in 2004. Other school systems can use these results to guide changes to their own school food policies.

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