Connecticut lawmakers consider banning day care from serving whole, 2% milk

Milk -- it does a body bad?

Some Connecticut lawmakers seem to think so. The state legislature is considering a bill that would ban day care centers from serving whole milk or 2 percent milk to children.

The move, according to the bill’s sponsors, is aimed at curbing childhood obesity -- but opponents say the information is outdated.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics put out a 2008 recommendation that children switch to low-fat milk after the age of 2 because they don’t need the fat content, others argue that the fat isn’t the dietary demon some claim.

Greg Miller, executive vice president of the National Dairy Council, says new research shows that dairy fat isn’t as harmful to someone’s health as once thought.

Miller argues that consumption of milk and milk products -- regardless of fat level -- is associated with lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

“The ‘choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods’ message is an easy fix, and it looks good on paper, but in practicality and application, it’s probably not that easy,” Miller told Today’s Dietician magazine. “The science says we can be more flexible.”

But the Connecticut bill would set stringent standards.

It reads: "No child day care center, group day care home or family day care home shall provide milk with a milk fat content greater than 1 percent to any child 2 years of age or older under the care of such facility unless milk with a higher milk fat content is medically required for an individual child, as documented by such child's medical provider."

In another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, reviewers found that high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of obesity.

“We continue to see more and more data coming out (that supports the conclusion) that consumption of whole-milk dairy products is associated with reduced body fat,” Miller said.

Multiple calls to the bill’s sponsors, Democratic Reps. David Zoni, Roberta Willis and state Sen. Catherine Osten, for comment were not returned.