Nicklas TA , O'Neil CE , Fulgoni V L 3rd. - 44643 N - J Sch Health 2013 ; 83(10) : 728-733.

The nutritional role of flavored and white milk in the diets of children

BACKGROUND: Some schools are removing flavored milk from lunchrooms based on the perception that consumption has a negative impact on the overall dietary quality. The goal of this study was to assess the contribution of flavored and white milk in the diets of children.
METHODS: Intake data from children 2 to 18 years (N = 7332) participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006 were obtained from in-person 24-hour dietary recalls. Mean  standard error of energy and nutrients were determined.
RESULTS: Flavored and white milk contributed, respectively, 2-6% of total energy consumed, 3-12% of saturated fats, 1-3% of sodium, and 4-0% of added sugars. The percent contribution of white milk to intakes of vitamin A (21%), vitamin D (54%), calcium (29%), potassium (17%), magnesium (12%), and phosphorus (19%) exceeded 10% of total intake. Consumption of flavored milk contributed a smaller percentage to total intake. For total dairy consumed the percent contribution to intake of vitamins A and D, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus ranged from 19% to 68%. CONCLUSIONS: Milk has an important nutritional role in the diets of children. More research is needed to understand the barriers to consuming milk and potential unintended nutrition consequences of removing flavored milk from the lunchrooms.