Henry C , Whiting SJ , Phillips T , Finch SL , Zello GA , Vatanparast H. - 46148 N - Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2015 ; in press.

Impact of the removal of chocolate milk from school milk programs for children in Saskatoon, Canada

Studies in the United States report inclusion of flavoured milk in the diets of children and youth improves nutrient intakes. No research has investigated the contribution of flavoured milk to overall milk intake or the milk preferences of Canadian children. The objective of the study was to measure milk consumption (plain milk and flavoured milk) by children in an elementary school environment and investigate factors contributing to milk choice. A mixed-method research design was applied across 6 schools for 12 weeks. Milk waste was measured in grades 1-8 for 12 weeks. Weeks 1-4 (phase 1) and 9-12 (phase 3) provided both plain milk and flavoured milk as chocolate milk while weeks 5-8 (phase 2) provided plain milk only. Beverage Frequency Questionnaires were used in each phase (in grades 5-8 only) to assess usual beverage consumption. Statistical nutrient modelling was conducted to determine the effects of removing chocolate milk during phase 2 as a milk choice. Later, focus groups were conducted with students in grades 5-8 to determine what influences them to choose/not choose to drink milk. Total milk intake decreased by 12.3% when chocolate milk was removed from the schools (26.6% +/- 5.2% to 14.31% +/- 1.6%, p < 0.001). Milk choice was influenced by environmental factors as well as taste, cost, convenience, and variety. Total milk intake was associated with location (p = 0.035) and cost (p < 0.001), with rural students and/or those students receiving free milk drinking the greatest amount of milk. Nutrient modelling revealed chocolate milk is more cost-efficient and convenient at providing nutrients than alternative food/drink combinations.