twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Low-fat Milk Better for Babies?

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Guest blogger Dr. Cara Natterson reacts to the American Academy of Pediatrics' new low-fat milk recommendations for some babies and toddlers.


There have been a series of articles and recommendations published this summer that all focus on the same theme: childhood nutrition. A few weeks ago, the AAP released new guidelines suggesting that some children as young as 8 years old may be candidates for cholesterol-lowering medicines. There have been articles about the ongoing obesity epidemic among American children and the sedentary lifestyles of teens.

This week, the debate comes down to babies and toddlers. Now at issue is whether whole milk with its high-fat content is good for young children or not. On the one hand, fat was thought to be an important ingredient in brain development. On the other, fat and cholesterol consumption in babies who are predisposed to heart disease may serve as the launching pad for a lifetime of poor health.

So how should a parent make heads or tails of this? The most recent recommendation clearly distinguishes children with a family history of cholesterol, obesity, or heart disease from all others. The children in the
first group should be started on lower-fat milk at one year, which is the age when cow's milk is introduced in the first place. Children with none of these risks can still drink whole milk until age 2, when the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that kids make the switch to 2%, 1%, or skim milk. (There are some exceptions--like kids who are very thin or have reasons to burn through calories quickly.)

Does it really matter? We don't know. Until large numbers of children make this shift and are followed over time, we won't really be able to tell whether the intervention reduces a child's likelihood of becoming obese or having high cholesterol or heart disease. It makes good sense, but the data is not there yet. But what we do know is that it's not only about milk. This summer has proven that it is time we take a stern look at the way childhood habits are affecting adult health. In order to grow a healthy child, parents must look at the entire diet--and this includes milk, proteins, vegetables, refined sugars, fats, and so on. Just as important, parents must work to keep their children active and exercising, integrating this into their daily lives from toddlerhood until teen-dom. If good eating and vigorous exercise become an automatic part of everyday life, today's children should grow up to be much healthier adults.

To ask Dr. Cara a question, click here.

Dr. Cara Natterson, author of Your Toddler: Head To Toe, is a pediatrician and mother of 2. To buy a copy of her book, click here

next: What's for Dinner, Mom?
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
yie lee August 22, 2008, 10:46 PM

We just give the little bug Kool-Aid, it works just as well.

Fashion Trends October 12, 2010, 1:55 PM

I adore this guide, I’ve passed this alongside to my coworkers inside the fashion industry.

Merchant Services December 24, 2010, 2:34 AM

I am grateful to come across this post.

Beckie Moczygemba January 22, 2011, 6:56 AM

I’ve organized numerous exhibitions on the Fashion Institute of Technology in my previous years and am at this time operating using a discussion board for that marketplace.

Candie Diluca March 16, 2011, 12:28 PM

jumbo almanac you compass

Alphonso Bearse March 29, 2011, 7:27 PM

Awsome post and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to get some professional writers? Thank you :)

Jule Dorsaint March 30, 2011, 5:40 AM

As a Newbie, I am constantly browsing online for articles that can be of assistance to me. Thank you

Kenton Armato April 6, 2011, 8:41 AM

As a Newbie, I am continuously exploring online for articles that can benefit me. Thank you

Jay Buron April 8, 2011, 1:42 AM

Super job on the article. Quite a few thanks for sharing it with us, you must have gone by way of lots of work to complete it so well.

syma helicopter April 8, 2011, 9:06 AM

Oh man! What an excellent article dude! Got to give thanks to you for this one, though I’ve got a issue together with your RSS feed. Can’t appear to subscribe to it for some reason. Do you know if anyone else is having the identical difficulty? If you have got a answer please let me know.

Mammie Vanoy April 10, 2011, 5:42 AM

I carry on listening to the news lecture about receiving boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the top site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i find some?

chicken pox vaccine side effects April 10, 2011, 8:15 AM

You should take part in a contest for the most effective blogs on the web. I’ll advocate this web site!

Back to top >>