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The Pediatric Forum
December 2005

Why Blame Milk?

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(12):1186-1188. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.12.1187

I read with interest the observational study by Berkey et al1 concerning associations between milk, dairy fat, and weight gain. Children who drank more than 3 servings of milk per day gained more in body mass index (BMI) (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) than those who drank less. However, when the analyses were adjusted for energy, milk intake had no significant effect on increase in BMI. In multivariate analyses, total energy, not dairy, intake was the most important predictor of increase in BMI. The authors concluded that “high intakes of milk, including skim and 1% milk, may provide some children with excess energy that results in an increase in body weight.”1(pp548-549) Presumably, if these children had cut back on their milk intake, they would have gained less weight. I am curious as to why the authors focused their conclusion on milk when the same reduction in energy could better have been accomplished by cutting back on other less nutritious sources of calories.