Got milk? Latest study reveals why kids should have plenty of it

Results of UTHealth study will be presented at European Congress on Obesity


HOUSTON – Got milk? 

A recent study conducted by researchers at UTHealth indicates that kids should get plenty of it. 

The study found that obese children who consume at least two servings of any type of cow’s milk daily are more likely to have lower fasting insulin, indicating better blood sugar control.

The results of the study, to be presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria on Friday, emphasize the critical need for milk in the child’s diet despite its alarming decline in consumption.

Milk consumption in America has consistently fallen over the past few decades, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, especially among adolescents where it has dropped by nearly half – to less than a cup daily – between 1977 and 2006.

“Parents have started to look at milk not as a good thing and they are wary of it. The message to them is not to be scared of milk, or to limit its consumption, and to encourage children of all ages to keep drinking it freely,” said Mona Eissa, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator and professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of at least three of five conditions that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke – high levels of blood sugar or triglycerides, high blood pressure, excess belly fat and low “good” cholesterol levels.  

One-third of American children and teens are overweight or obese, which is closely linked to the development of metabolic syndrome.

Previous studies have shown that milk protects against metabolic syndrome and diabetes in adults, but this is the first to explore these factors among obese children.