Milk consumption in school meal programs seems to be dropping according to a report from the National Dairy Council that was presented to a Congressional committee examining issues related to the reauthorization of federal school nutrition programs. The report, "Fluid Milk in School Meal Programs," notes that "[d]airy consumption, on average, falls below recommended amounts by 4 years of age, on average, and continues to decline with age. As children move into adolescence, they increasingly turn to less nutritious beverage choices instead of milk."
The report doesn't make any definitive conclusions but notes that as participation in the National School Lunch Program has dropped since the implementation of the requirements associated with the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act, milk consumption "is likely to decrease as well." It also notes the potential negative effect on consumption of restricting milk choices to less popular fat-free and 1% varieties and the restriction of flavored varieties to fat-free, which seems to be regarded very unfavorably by students according to some studies.
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