Posted tagged ‘heart attack’

Goodbye, whole milk

July 7, 2008

A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, published in July 2008, calls for almost all children to consume low-fat rather than whole milk to reduce their long-term risk of cardiovascular disease.

Reduced-fat milk is preferred for all children starting at age 2. For babies younger than this, starting at age 1 year reduced-fat milk should be used if there are any risk factors: obesity or risk for obesity, or a strong family history of heart disease or increased cholesterol. Since just about every child growing up in the developed world is at risk for obesity, the guideline seems to apply to just about everyone.

The guideline doesn’t distinguish between low fat (2%), skim (0%), or other varieties of reduced-fat milk. I have been advocating skim milk for all children starting at age 2, and will now also suggest low fat (2%) milk starting at age 1 for all babies. The only exception would be in children who are truly underweight, who could benefit from the extra calories of whole milk.

The policy statement also covers new information about screening for cardiovascular risk by measuring cholesterol in children starting at age 2 who are at risk. You’ll be hearing more about this soon as these guidelines are distributed and discussed, but you heard it here first!