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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE November 9, 2009

Doctors Urge Media to Reject Dairy Industry’s Chocolate Milk Ads

PCRM Gives “Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk” Ad Campaign Two Thumbs Down

WASHINGTON—Chocolate milk and other dairy products are not nutritious options for school lunches, say doctors and dietitians with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). PCRM nutrition experts are calling for an end to the dairy industry’s new campaign to keep chocolate milk in America’s school lunch lines.

The dairy industry’s “Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk” campaign claims that chocolate milk is a healthy alternative to sodas, because sugary flavorings encourage children to consume cow’s milk. But PCRM physicians and other health professionals oppose the campaign because of the many health problems associated with dairy product consumption, including increased risk of prostate cancer, obesity, heart disease, type 1 diabetes, allergies, and acne.

“Giving chocolate milk to children during an obesity epidemic is like pouring gasoline on a forest fire,” said PCRM dietitian Kathryn Strong, M.S., R.D. “Dairy products are already the leading source of saturated fat in children’s diets, and now the dairy industry is pushing chocolate milk, which has as much sugar as soda.”

Lactose intolerance offers another reason not to push milk—chocolate or otherwise—on children. An estimated one-third of the United States population, including the majority of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics, cannot tolerate lactose. Many children also avoid dairy for ethical, cultural, and religious reasons.

Milk is often touted as necessary for building strong bones, but clinical research shows that dairy products have little or no benefit for bones. A 2005 review published in Pediatrics showed that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children. While calcium is important for bone health, calcium needs can easily be met from plant foods such as kale, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables and beans.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Tara Failey
202-686-2210, ext. 319

Neal Barnard M.D.
Neal Barnard, M.D.

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