Research from Otago University, revealing the low consumption of milk by children, is really alarming. The research found that only 38% of kids are drinking milk daily - a statistic suggesting that debilitating osteoporosis could be in store for a generation of women. The problem is particularly acute for low socio-economic families.
The Otago researchers have compared the prices of milk and fizzy drinks. Milk has gone up dramatically over the last several years, but the cost of fizz has stayed static. I'm sure the researchers are quite right about the high price of milk discouraging parents from buying it. That doesn't seem to be the whole story, though. If you're on a low budget, you can still drink water rather than substitute fizz for milk. As the researchers note, fizz is marketed far more heavily than milk. Maybe advertising has contributed to changing people's tastes, and there has been little push back in the form of public health campaigning.
My parents were of the 'milk in schools' generation, so the health benefits of milk were drummed into them. They got it right in that respect - but they were also of a generation that ate far too much red meat and fat. I knew absolutely nothing about nutrition myself until I got gestational diabetes during my second pregnancy, at age 30. It was really a blessing - I was forced to learn a bunch of stuff that has benefited my kids' health, as well as my own. Until that time, I'd really just repeated the diet I'd had as a kid, but with a greater amount of convenience food, reflecting that fact that I was a busy working mum.
My guess is that there are a few factors at play in the milk situation. Price is one. Lack of nutritional knowledge, for some people at least, is probably another; particularly for those too young to be exposed to milk in schools, or other large scale public health campaigns. (And these days, public health campaigns have to compete with saturation-level advertising across myriad media - a whole different issue.) Third, I think it can be really hard to interest kids in healthy kai when they're used to an incredible world of choice, and having their tastebuds blasted with MSG and salt and artificial flavouring and every other bad thing you can name.
What do other THMers think?