A serving of milk has enough extra calcium added to cover 30% of your daily needs. It also is fortified with Vitamin D. Drinking milk is supposed to help children develop healthy and strong bones. America is the highest dairy-consuming country in the world. But, guess what? There is a higher rate of osteoporosis among Americans than any other developed nation. Somehow, I don't think drinking milk is helping. And, in the meantime, we're giving our kiddos a lot more fat and calories than they would be getting if they just had water with their lunch.
I found a study published in 2005 in Pediatrics, a peer-reviewed journal. In it, Dr. Amy Joy Lanou explains that the idea that kids need milk for healthy bones is simply not well supported by scientific studies. In fact, the scientific support behind kids drinking so much milk is "scant."
It seems that exercise, an active lifestyle, and an appropriate body weight have more of an effect on osteoporosis than milk consumption. A decent multivitamin and a little sunshine covers Vitamin D. I'm not saying we should all quit drinking milk. But I do think we should stop stressing when our kids don't drink 2-3 cups a day.