Statement from the Dairy Industry in Response to Berkey-Willett Study in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, June 2005
The findings of a new observational study on teenagers and weight are about the relationship between excess calories and weight gain. The study is not at odds with the body of science that links dairy consumption and weight management in adults. In addition, the milk industry’s campaign regarding weight loss has been directed at adults, not children or teens.
The Berkey-Willett study, which is based only on observational data, found that a small percentage of teens who drank more than three cups of milk a day had higher Body Mass Index (BMI). It is not surprising that higher caloric intake -- from milk or any other food -- results in a higher BMI. According to government data, teens drink on average 1.7 cups of milk a day.
In fact, most teenagers fall far short of the government recommended three daily servings of milk and milk products. This is a concern to government and health agencies since milk products are the primary source of calcium and other essential nutrients for teens, who form nearly half of their bone mass and add about 15 percent of their adult height during the teen years. More information on teens and milk consumption can be found on the government's "Milk Matters" website, at www.nichd.nih.gov.
A growing body of scientific research shows a connection between dairy consumption and weight management in adults. Studies show that people who get the government's recommended three servings of dairy each day are more successful with weight management and weight loss than those who don’t.
After reviewing current nutritional science, the government noted in its 2005 Dietary Guidelines to Americans that “adults and children should not avoid milk and milk products because of concerns that these foods lead to weight gain.”
While the milk industry's campaign regarding weight loss has been directed at adults, not children or teens, some scientific research has suggested just the opposite of this new Berkey-Willett study; For example, a June 2005 study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute published in Pediatrics found that over a three-year period, dairy intake among 8- to 10-year-olds was linked to a lower BMI.
International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is the Washington, DC-based organization representing the nation's dairy processing and manufacturing industries and their suppliers. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), National Cheese Institute (NCI) and International Ice Cream Association (IICA). Its 500+ members range from large multinational corporations to single-plant operations, and represent more than 85% of the total volume of milk, cultured products, cheese, and ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States — an estimated $70-billion a year industry. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org
The American Dairy Association/National Dairy Council (ADA/NDC) is managed by Dairy Management Inc., the nonprofit domestic and international planning and management organization responsible for increasing demand for U.S.-produced dairy products on behalf of America’s dairy farmers.