Current public health advice for children to avoid drinking full-fat milk should be revised, according to a new study reported by Farm Online on 13 October.
Researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Perth, Australia, said current guidance that children over the age of two years should consume low fat dairy products should be reviewed, according to the report.
Led by ECU associate professor Therese O'Sullivan, the Milky Way study looked into the consumption of full-fat dairy products in children.
Over a three-month period, 49 healthy children aged between four and six years were randomly allocated to receive either whole fat or low-fat dairy products in place of their normal dairy intake, Farm Online wrote.
To ensure cost was not a factor, dairy products were delivered free of charge fortnightly to participants, the report said.
Neither group knew if they were consuming whole fat or low-fat dairy, according to the report, with left-over products weighed each fortnight to assess the children's overall intake.
Researchers then measured the children’s obesity, body composition, blood pressure, and blood biomarkers to monitor the effects of their dairy consumption, the report said.
While children in the low-fat dairy group consumed less calories and fat from dairy, they turned to other food and drinks to compensate, according to the report. For this reason, both groups of children consumed similar calorie levels.
The findings showed no significant differences between the groups' obesity or cardiovascular health, Prof O’Sullivan said.
“It had previously been thought young children would benefit from low fat dairy products due to their lower levels of saturated fats and lower density of energy, in turn helping avoid obesity and risk of associated cardio-metabolic diseases,” she was quoted as saying.
“Our results suggest healthy children can safely consume whole fat dairy products without increased obesity or adverse cardio-metabolic effects.”
The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.