Why Milk is an Adult Drink

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:28 AM


When you think of adult drinks, milk may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, when it comes to bone health, qualitative research shows that most adults associate consumption of milk and cheese with a bone health benefit, and name calcium and vitamin D as top nutrients. Baby Boomer and older consumers were more likely than younger generations to say that milk provides a bone health benefit. The older adults surveyed did not associate milk with helping to build muscle to the same degree as did younger adults.

But what we are learning – and what all adults should know — is that maintaining both bone and skeletal muscle as they age is important for helping to reduce the incidence of fragility fractures later.    iStock_16354673 XL alt 350r 4C

Recently a group of recognized bone experts from Switzerland, France, and North America collaborated on a paper to examine interactions between four nutrients – calcium, inorganic phosphate, vitamin D, and protein – and their role in preserving bone and skeletal muscle with age. Read the rest of this entry »

What Type of Milk Should Children Drink?

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 8:39 AM


At National Dairy Council we are frequently asked by health and wellness professionals and parents what type of milk children should drink for good health. Should they drink only low-fat or fat-free milk, or is 2 percent or whole milk sometimes okay? We generally respond with current recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines, then direct parents to consult their child’s pediatrician for personalized care.

012014health_sFor example, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published guidance for pediatricians in their updated clinical report, Optimizing Bone Health in Children and Adolescents. To optimize bone mass development in youth, the report encourages increased dietary consumption of calcium- and vitamin D-containing foods and beverages to meet daily requirements. It suggests that pediatricians recommend 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese per day for children ages 4- 8 years and four servings for adolescents. It mentions that low-fat dairy foods, such as fat-free milk and low-fat yogurts are good sources of calcium.

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Four Ways to Honor the Harvest This Thanksgiving

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 8:34 AM


America is known as the land of plenty, so how is it one in six Americans face hunger? Hunger is real and it’s in every community across the U.S. While we have much to be thankful for, we also need to understand how we can be better stewards of what we have and help those not as fortunate.

Thanksgiving is a good time to have this discussion among our peers and with the public — it’s a time for enjoying nature’s bounty with family, counting our blessings and helping people in need. According to an issue paper by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), America is losing up to 40 percent of its food supply due to waste that occurs at every segment of the food supply chain. It is estimated that American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy.

What do people regret most about throwing away food? According to a nationally representative public poll of register voters from Sustainable America, they regret:

  • Wasted money (80 percent)
  • That there are people without enough to eat who could have used it (53 percent)
  • General environmental consequences of wasted food (20 percent)
  • That my refrigerator is disorganized and I didn’t see it in time (19 percent)

Share these four steps with your colleagues and clients to help honor the harvest:

Honor the Harvest_Final_

(Click for full-sized image)

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One Simple Solution to Help Maintain Bone Health

Posted by Robert Murray, MD, FAAP @ 7:23 AM


When my daughter was in high school I worried about her not drinking enough milk. So, every week I bought chocolate milk and put it in the refrigerator, without any editorial comment. She drank it. I was stunned. But it taught me a lesson as a dad about finding the middle ground with her. She drank it because it tasted good, while I offered it because I wanted her to meet the recommended calcium and vitamin D to help ensure lifelong bone strength. During adolescence the clock is ticking. It was a good trade, a win-win.

Chocolate MilkThat memory came back to mind when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Nutrition updated its perspective on bone health this September in the policy statement “Optimizing Bone Health in Children and Adolescents.” The Committee recommended that clinicians monitor dairy food consumption, beverage choices and eating patterns in their patients, especially those in middle and high school years. The statement reminded me of how far we have to go in improving the dietary pattern of children and adolescents. Read the rest of this entry »

Schools Nationwide Celebrate “Get in the Game with School Lunch”

Posted by Emily Mannel @ 8:59 AM


October 13-17 marked National School Lunch Week (NSLW). This weeklong celebration of the National School Lunch Program encouraged parents, students, and the school community to embrace healthier lifestyles and “Get in the Game with School Lunch.”

The “Get in the Game” theme, which emphasized the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyles, was fun for everyone – schools celebrated with special sport-themed costumes, guest servers in the cafeteria, decorations, and special activities. In many districts, students were joined in the cafeteria by their parents and grandparents, local news anchors, principals, and other special guests. Here’s a look at how some schools celebrated:

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Going on a Fun Run: All for the Love of Play

Posted by Christine Cliff, MPH, RDN, LDN @ 7:37 AM


Growing up, my parents signed me up for all kinds of activities, including ballet, soccer and tee-ball. Beyond the organized sports, my brothers and I loved to played pick-up baseball games and even “ghost in the graveyard.” Needless to say, I had many opportunities to get active and develop my love of play.

Today, many kids don’t have this same great opportunity for activity. They may be unable to play outside in their own neighborhoods due to safety concerns. Recess and/or physical education is even being completely eliminated in some school districts making it challenging for kids to get the activity they need during the school day.

So, how does this decrease in play and activity affect kids? Their learning in school and even their bone health can be negatively affected.

Do not despair. There is hope. Four students from Mission Middle School in Escondido, Calif., showed me that despite their challenges with neighborhood safety they love to play and get active, thanks to Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60). Through this in-school nutrition and physical activity program, Nomi, Alexis, Wendy and Manny helped create a Hip-Hop Club at their school so kids can have fun as they get active. Read the rest of this entry »

Good Nutrition: A Solution to Impact Both Childhood Hunger and Obesity

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 9:20 AM


It seems counterintuitive that hunger and overweight can coexist in the same individual, family, or community. Yet the truth is that poverty can make people more vulnerable to hunger as well as obesity – and many of those affected are children. A session I attended at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta explained why low income, food insecure people are especially vulnerable to obesity and demonstrated how two organizations in Georgia – the Georgia Food Bank Association and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life program – partnered to address these issues. They discovered that in both hunger and obesity, the key to better health for children and families is good nutrition and improved access to nutrient-rich foods.

Michele Chivore, MBA, of the Georgia Food Bank Association, made the connection between childhood hunger and obesity clear. She explained that among the food insecure, the following factors often contribute to obesity: Read the rest of this entry »

Fueled to the Finish and Beyond: What I Eat During and After A Long Run

Posted by Stephanie Cundith, MS, RD, LD @ 9:16 AM


I finished! You may recall from my previous post that I was training for a 50 mile race. Well I am happy to tell you that I successfully completed and recovered from the race and I couldn’t have done it without proper nutrition.

I know I talked to you about pre-race nutrition tips in my last post, I would like to follow-up with nutrition tips during and after a run as they are equally as important. I hope you will find these tips helpful no matter if you’re training yourself or sharing with your active clients. Read the rest of this entry »

SMILE: School Meals Improve Learning Environments

Posted by Kristin Schrieber, MS, RD, LDN @ 7:10 AM

Kristin Schrieber

How do you feel when you are hungry? Irritable, distracted, restless? Imagine starting your day that way.

A nutritious breakfast can help students be ready for a day of learning. But when one in five children live in households that are food insecure, and the number of school breakfasts served is only about half of school lunches, many students fall short on nutrients needed for growth and development. They also miss out on the nutrition that may help them reach their full academic potential. That’s why school experts came together with National Dairy Council and Sodexo at this year’s School Breakfast Summit to help stop hunger and improve nutrition in the school environment.


What’s so special about breakfast? Research indicates that the simple act of eating school breakfast can help academic performance, which, in turn, can help dramatically change a child’s life. In a systematic review of 45 studies that measured the effects of breakfast versus no breakfast on cognitive performance between 1950 and 2008 nearly all showed at least one positive effect, particularly in undernourished children.

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The Complex Yet Simple Food Called Milk

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 8:48 AM


As I was taking the train home one evening, I pulled a review paper out of my briefcase on milk composition and its role in human health that I had been meaning to read. The paper described the essential role nutrients in milk play in growth and development, immune function, and nutrient transport and absorption. I read about the different proteins (at least 10) and fatty acids (more than 400) in milk and their functional benefits — at first dutifully — then with a rekindled sense of wonder at the complexity and health-promoting qualities of this seemingly simple food called cow’s milk.

One component of milk that illustrates its complexity is protein. When we think about milk as a good source of protein, we might discuss its benefits for increasing satiety and for helping to maintain bone and muscle health when part of a higher protein diet. However, this paper delves into other functions of milk proteins that help illustrate the unique function for each type of protein. For example, Read the rest of this entry »