“School may ban chocolate milk over added sugar”. There is growing concern that flavored milk contains added sugar and is therefore not a healthy option for children. “Some school districts have gone as far as prohibiting flavored milk, and Florida considered a statewide ban in schools,” (Hoag 1). This is happening even though 70% of the milk consumed in school cafeterias is flavored. Many argue that flavored milk is a leading cause of obesity in children. However, it has been noted that once flavored milk is taken off the table, there is a drastic drop in milk consumption in schools. There are those who feel that rather than taking flavored milk, it would be better if they take no milk at all. The article addresses the current concern regarding chocolate flavored milk containing excess sugar with which I agree.
In the article, the author explains the growing problem of the lack of nutritional value provided by flavored milk. It is argued that the nutrition contained in low-fat skimmed milk outweigh the damage of added sugar. Some schools are opting to replace flavored milk with intense fructose corn syrup with that has sugar that they view as an additional ordinary sweetener. They consider those mentioned above a middle ground. A large percentage of the milk taken by school children is flavored. Since milk contains nine essential nutrients, some are of the opinion that all these benefits cannot be nullified by the added sugar. When flavored milk is banned from schools, students shy away from milk as noted with the drop in milk consumption after the implementation of the ban in some schools. It has been argued however that children can drink plain milk if they are told to. Parents are divided on the issue with some claiming that they give their children flavored milk as it the only way to get them to drink milk. Other parents think that if children reject plain milk, then they can do without drinking milk. They can get the nutrients contained in milk from other foods. According to them, chocolate milk is unhealthy, and it is not good to offer it to children as an option. Children, on the other hand, consider plain milk as yucky and if given an option, won’t take it at all. All the nutritional values of milk cannot be removed by flavors; it should therefore not be an issue if children get flavored milk in their school cafeterias.
When considering the article, the three most significant points are illustrated in the following points. There is a lot of nutritional value in flavored milk that outweighs the harm done by added sugar. This has come under question following increased obesity in schools which some attribute to flavors in milk especially chocolate. Schools are being pressured to offer healthy nutritional options in their cafeterias. Hoag states “Chocolate milk has long been seen as the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down, but the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic has a growing number of people wondering whether that’s wise” (Hoag 1). The presence of added sugar in flavored milk calls to question the nutritional value of the milk. Sugar is among the leading causes of obesity and because of the added sugar in flavored milk, which might make the milk a cause of obesity too. Flavored milk has been equated to unhealthy food options such as candy and soda. This has caused calls for the removal of flavored milk from school children’s lunch diet. Hoag says, “Flavored milk is also a target of British TV chef Jamie Oliver, who has made revamping school food a signature cause” (Hoag 1). Oliver filled a school bus with sand to show how much sugar is consumed by the children of Los Angeles Unified in flavored milk. There is a lot of sugar contained in flavored milk, and that makes it unhealthy from children at a time when we are striving towards healthy diets. There has been a drastic decline in milk consumption after the introduction of plain milk as the only option. Children prefer flavored milk to plain. However, the nutrients found in milk can be found in other foods. Hoag (2) states, “Children can get calcium and other nutrients from other foods” (Hoag 2). Instead of offering children flavored milk, which is entirely unhealthy, they can do without milk and get the nutrients that are found in milk from other foods. That solves the issue of children avoiding plain milk. They should only have one option, flavored milk or no milk at all.
I agree with Hoag that flavored milk is an unhealthy option for getting children the nutrients in milk. For example, my friend’s seven-year-old daughter Lucy will only take chocolate flavored milk. Lucy has been doing so since she was three years old and refuses to touch plain milk. She has been teetering towards obesity for the past two years and currently weighs 67.2 pounds. Since she rarely exercises, she prefers exploring the world of “Dora the Explorer” to the real world, it is up to a healthy diet to give her the proper weight for a child her age. Chocolate flavored milk deprives her of that. The last time Lucy’s parents took her to the pediatrician, she asked them to scrape milk from her diet entirely since she will not drink it plain. Instead, they should find an alternative source of calcium and other nutrients found in milk, from other foods. They have been reluctant to do that fearing that it might not be an ideal option.
Though flavored milk is a problem, there are possible solutions for resolving it. Schools can place a ban on flavored milk from their cafeteria. Flavored milk is an easy option for children who consider plain milk yucky, and it should be removed from their diet and replaced with plain milk which, though lacking in taste is healthy. Hoag suggests that “When you’re telling kids that drinking chocolate milk is a healthy option, you’re sending the wrong message.” It is evident that if given the option, kids will choose chocolate milk any day. It is the responsibility of the authority concerned such as the parents or schools to set them straight. Flavored milk is unhealthy and should be avoided.
There should be a nationwide ban on flavored milk. Parents should do the same in their homes. Children will always take the easy option, sometimes, that option is an unhealthy one. As the people responsible for the health and wellbeing of the children, we should make the decision to give them a diet that is healthy for them. That does not include flavored milk. If they don’t accept the option of plain milk, it is again up to us to find healthy ways of getting them the nutrients contained in milk. We should be at the forefront of eradicating foods that contribute to childhood obesity.
Hoag, C. “Schools may ban chocolate milk over added sugar.” USA Today 11 (2011).