(HealthDay News) – For preschool children, consumption of 1%/skim milk is associated with overweight/obesity, according to a study published online March 18 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Rebecca J. Scharf, MD, MPH, from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study involving 10,700 U.S. children evaluated at age 2 and 4 years to examine the correlation between type of milk consumed and weight status.

The researchers found that most children drank 2%/whole milk at age 2 years (87%) and 4 years (79.3%). Compared with 2%/whole milk drinkers, those who drank 1%/skim milk had higher body mass index (BMI) z-scores across racial/ethnic and socioeconomic status subgroups. Increasing fat content in milk correlated inversely with BMI z-score in multivariate analysis. The odds of being overweight or obese were significantly increased for those drinking 1-percent/skim milk compared with those drinking 2%/whole milk (odds ratios at age 2, 1.64 and 1.57, respectively; at age 4, 1.63 and 1.64, respectively). Children drinking 1%/skim milk at ages 2 and 4 years were significantly more likely to become overweight or obese between the ages of 2 and 4 years, based on longitudinal analyses.

“In conclusion, we found that among preschoolers, consumption of 1%/skim milk was associated with overweight and obesity,” the authors write. “Our data do not support 1%/skim milk consumption as the sole way to restrain gains in BMI among preschoolers.”

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