The findings of the research were announced by the study investigator Associate Professor Clare Wall, at an event today attended by Deputy Labour Leader and Health Spokesperson Hon Annette King, Olympian Eliza McCartney, and education and nutritional experts.
The national guideline for dairy consumption for primary school children is between two and three serves per day; one serve of dairy is 250mls of milk or 150 grams of yoghurt. Many children do not meet this guideline.
Fonterra General Manager Nutrition Angela Rowan said Fonterra Milk for Schools is having a positive influence on children’s choice of beverages.
“Traditionally kids drink less milk as they get older because they start drinking soft drinks and juice. It’s great to see this hasn’t happened in the study – in fact their milk consumption is increasing.”
“Through Fonterra Milk for Schools, children’s taste for milk and understanding of the importance of dairy nutrition is resulting in positive choices around what they are drinking.”
“One of the most pleasing things we’ve seen is that along with the extra milk they get at school, they’re choosing to drink milk on the weekends as well – hopefully in preference to sugary drinks,” said Angela Rowan.
Associate Professor Wall said milk provides children with necessary protein, vitamins and minerals, helping them achieve a balanced diet.
“Dairy can play a vital part in a healthy balanced diet and research shows that children who consume milk and dairy products have improved bone and dental health.
“It is good to see through Fonterra Milk for Schools these children are enjoying having dairy regularly at an age where they are forming habits that can last them a lifetime,” said Associate Professor Wall.
Since the programme began Fonterra Milk for Schools has delivered more than 70 million cartons of milk to primary schools throughout the country, including the Chatham, Stewart, Matakana and Great Barrier Islands.