Milk is Disappearing From the Family Dinner Table

Sweetened Beverages May Be Edging Out Nutritious Drinks

Aug 09, 2007, 01:00 ET from The Milk Processor Education Program

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- As families gather back around the
 dinner table, what was once a staple of the meal -- milk -- might be hard
 to find. Over the past decade, milk at dinner has steadily declined and
 today nearly 60 percent of children's dinners do not include milk,
 according to new findings from The NPD Group.(1) Conversely, nearly
 one-third of all kids' meals are served with a soft drink or fruit drink --
 beverages that are often loaded with sugar and missing important nutrients.
     The percentage of overweight American children and teens has tripled in
 the last two decades and a recent report called What America Drinks(2)
 suggests that beverage choice may impact weight and the overall quality of
 the diet. Because of these findings, health experts like registered
 dietitian Jodie Shield are joining the nationwide Think About Your Drink
 campaign to urge parents to think about what's filling their children's
 glasses and make milk the "official drink of the family."
     "As parents, it's important for us to realize that beverage choice may
 play a part in the fight against raising overweight, yet undernourished
 kids," said Shield. "And, family dinner is a great place to start. By
 swapping your child's soft drink for milk, you boost vital nutrients many
 kids are missing."
     Choosing milk at your next family dinner can have a real nutrition
 impact. At a typical meal served with a regular soft drink that includes
 spaghetti with a side of broccoli, fruit and bread, you get only 120mg of
 the recommended 1,000mg of calcium a day. By swapping fat free milk for
 that soft drink you boost calcium to 420mg, which is a 250 percent
 increase. Likewise, you increase vitamin D by 625 percent, and potassium
 and magnesium by around 30 percent. Plus, you skip six teaspoons of
     Additionally, choosing lowfat or fat free milk may help keep your
 family at a healthy weight. Research shows drinking the recommended three
 servings of lowfat or fat free milk everyday is an important part of a
 healthy diet for parents and their kids, and may also contribute toward
 maintaining a healthy weight.(4-9)
     Back to School, Back to Family Dinner
     With Americans currently consuming two to three times the amount of
 sweetened beverages as they do milk, dinner is an important meal for
 parents to help control what their kids are drinking. Research shows that
 the more often a family eats together, the more likely their kids will
 choose calcium-rich drinks such as milk and shy away from nutrient-void
     "Not only does eating dinner together promote family bonding," said Dr.
 Ari Brown, M.D., FAAP for the American Academy of Pediatrics, "but eating
 family meals promotes positive nutrition habits for kids."
     Plus, eating dinner together might be an important meal to help keep
 kids at a healthy weight. Research shows that families who eat together may
 be less likely to have kids who are overweight.(11,12)
     Like Mother, Like Daughter
     Parents play an important role in keeping their family healthy and
 helping their children make positive choices. In fact, studies on mothers
 and daughters show that moms' own food choices may be more influential than
 any other attempt to control their daughters' food intake.(13) A mother's
 decision to drink milk more frequently and to eat more fruits, vegetables
 and whole grains is likely to influence her daughter's choices.(14-16)
     "If we as parents don't practice what we preach, we end up sending our
 children and teens mixed messages," said Brown. "When you drink a glass of
 milk instead of soda, they will catch on."
     Think About Your Drink Family Challenge
     As part of the nationwide Think About Your Drink education campaign,
 the nation's milk processors are encouraging families to make milk their
 beverage of choice by launching the Think About Your Drink Family Challenge
 which will reward 25 families for choosing milk more often. Entering the
 nationwide contest is easy -- just snap a photo of your family choosing
 milk or donning the famous Milk Mustache and upload it to before August 31, 2007. Entrants will qualify
 for a chance to win great prizes like a family trip to Disney World(R),
 nutritious meals prepared by a personal chef or a Family Circle cookbook.
     Also visit for tools to help you and your
 loved ones make better beverage choices. You can get a free, personalized
 nutrition analysis of your daily drinks and see how beverage choice can
 impact the nutrition of a typical family dinner.
     The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is
 funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing
 fluid milk consumption. The MilkPEP Board runs the national Milk Mustache
 "got milk?" Campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate
 consumers about the health benefits of milk. For more information, go to The tagline "got milk?"(R) was created for the
 California Milk Processor Board by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and is
 licensed by the national milk processor and dairy producer groups.
     (1)  NPD Group, National Eating Trends 2007
     (2)  What America Drinks is a comprehensive analysis of U.S. beverage
          consumption that was conducted by ENVIRON International Corporation.
          The report analyzed data from more than 10,000 Americans ages 4 and
          older who participated in the government's National Health and
          Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 and
          provided reasonable dietary reports of food/beverage intakes.
          Relationships between selected patterns of beverage use, nutrient
          intakes and body mass index (BMI) were examined.
     (3)  Based on USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference 19
     (4)  Moore LL, Bradlee LM, Gao DI, Singer M. Low dairy intake in early
          childhood predicts excess body fat gain. Obesity. 2006;14:1010-1018.
     (5)  Novotny R, Daida YG, Acharya S, Grove JS, Vogt TM. Dairy intake is
          associated with lower body fat and soda intake with greater weight in
          adolescent girls. Journal of Nutrition. 2004;134:1905-1909.
     (6)  Phillips SM, Bandini LG, Cyr H, Colclough-Douglas S, Naumava E, Must
          A. Dairy food consumption and body weight and fatness studied
          longitudinally over the adolescent period. International Journal of
          Obesity. 2003;27:1106-1113.
     (7)  Teegarden D. The influence of dairy product consumption on body
          composition. Journal of Nutrition. 2005; 135:2749-2752.
     (8)  Zemel MB, Thompson W, Milstead A, Morris K, Campbell P.  Calcium and
          dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction
          in obese adults.  Obesity Research. 2004. 12(4): 582-590.
     (9)  Melanson EL, Donahoo WT, Dong F, Ida T, Zemel MB. Effect of low- and
          high-calcium dairy-based diets on macronutrient oxidation in humans.
          Obesity Research. 2005;13:2102-12.
     (10) Neumark-Sztainer D, Hannan PJ, Story M, Croll J, Perr C. Family meal
          patterns: Associations with sociodemographic characteristics and
          improved dietary intake among adolescents. Journal of the American
          Dietetic Association. 2003;103:317-322.
     (11) Sen B. Frequency of family dinner and adolescent body weight status:
          evidence from the national longitudinal survey of youth, 1997.
          Obesity. 2006;14:2266-76.
     (12) Taveras EM, Rifas-Shiman SL, Berkey CS, Rochett HRH, Field AE,
          Frazier AL, Colditz GA, Gillman MW. Family dinner and adolescent
          overweight. Obesity Research. 2005;13:900-906.
     (13) Lee Y, Birch LL. Diet quality, nutrient intake, weight status, and
          feeding environments of girls meeting or exceeding the American
          Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for total dietary fat. Minerva
          Pediatrica. 2002;54:179-186.
     (14) Galloway AT, Fiorito LM, Francis LA, Birch LL. Finish your soup:
          Counterproductive effects of pressuring children to eat on intake and
          affect. Appetite. 2006;46:318-323.
     (15) Johnson RK, Panely CV, Wang MQ. Associations between the milk mothers
          drink and the milk consumed by their school-aged children. Family
          Economics and Nutrition Review 2001;13:27-36.
     (16) Birch LL, Lee Y. Family Influences:  Mothers' and daughters' use of
          multivitamin-mineral supplements. Nutrition Today. 2002;37:173-174.

SOURCE The Milk Processor Education Program