In an effort to fight childhood obesity, schools across the country have taken chocolate milk off the school lunch menu. A new study from Cornell University finds that may not have been a good idea.
The study looked at 11 elementary schools in one Oregon school district which banned flavored milk from the cafeteria. They used data from the National School Lunch Program to determine what happened.
The results: Total daily milk sales declined nearly 10 percent. While white milk use increased, nearly 30 percent of it was thrown away. Eliminating chocolate milk was also linked to nearly 7 percent fewer students eating school lunches.
The study goes on to state on a nation-wide basis, when chocolate milk is offered, nearly 78 percent of all students took milk, once chocolate was removed 71 percent took milk.
The researchers conclude that while removing chocolate milk from school cafeterias may appear to have the immediate benefit of reducing sugar and calorie consumption, calcium and protein consumption were also reduced.
The study; A Pilot Study Evaluating the Cafeteria Consequences of Eliminating Flavored Milk, was funded by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs and is published on-line on the PLOS ONE website found here.