‘Doctors Should Know Dairy Milk Isn’t Healthy for Kids,’ Says Billboard Focused on Kansas Sen. Marshall’s Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act
“Doctors Should Know Dairy Milk Isn’t Healthy for Kids,” says a Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine billboard in Wichita, Kan., focused on the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, introduced in June by Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, a physician. Another billboard near Overland Park, Kan., says, “Sen. Marshall: Keep Whole Milk Out of Schools.”
The legislation, S.1957, would force schools to offer students whole dairy milk, which is high in saturated fat and poses significant health risks. A companion bill, H.R. 1147, was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
The billboards direct viewers to PCRM.org/HealthyStudents, which has information on the health risks associated with dairy milk and a form to email members of Congress and encourage them to oppose the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act and instead pursue measures that make it easier for students to receive nutritious nondairy beverages at school.
“Allowing whole milk to be offered as part of school meals is both unnecessary and harmful to children’s health,” says Noah Praamsma, MS, RDN, nutrition education coordinator for the Physicians Committee, “Rising levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes—both linked to consumption of saturated fat, which is found in whole milk—among children highlights the need to feed our children healthy food and beverages beginning at the earliest life stages.”
This legislation would continue federal barriers that schools and parents face in providing and accessing nondairy substitutes. Currently, nondairy milks are only required to be served if a parent submits a note from a physician documenting a “disability” that restricts their child’s diet. Notably, due to high incidences of lactose intolerance, parents and students of color suffer disproportionately from this burden. Further, lactose intolerance is a specific genetic trait and not a disability.
“Congress should advance legislation like H.R. 3276, the Healthy Future Students and Earth Pilot Program Act, which would align school nutrition policies with dietary science and the latest recommendations from organizations like the American Medical Association, which recommends removing barriers for students with lactose intolerance to access nondairy beverages,” says Andrew Binovi, director of government affairs for the Physicians Committee.
Dairy milk provides no nutrients that cannot be found in other sources. Protein, for example, can easily be found in other foods and drinks (like soy milk) that do not contain saturated fat. Rich sources of calcium include kale, broccoli, tofu, nuts, beans, and fortified orange juice.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.