Two cups of cow's milk found ideal for children

Parents often ponder how much milk is adequate to meet the growing demands of their children. The scientists seem to have finally found an answer to this question- it is two cups of cow’s milk per day. The research has been published in the online edition of the journal Pediatrics on December 17, 2012.

Milk, when consumed in higher quantities increases the vitamin stores of the body but simultaneously decrease the iron stores of the body. Excessive stores of vitamin D are of no use. Until now, scientists were not able to find the correct quantity of milk which would lead to optimal reserves of both vitamin D and iron in the body.

The present research was led by Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St. Michael's Hospital, along with his colleagues. The study involved 1,300 children between the ages of two and five. The parents of these children were asked to fill out questionnaires in which they were asked about their children’s’ milk drinking habits and were questioned about other factors which could affect the iron and vitamin D stores. Blood samples were also drawn from each child to measure his serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and ferritin levels to get an idea about the body’s reserves of vitamin D and iron respectively. The researchers then examined the effect of intake of cow’s milk on the levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and serum ferritin simultaneously. Clinical variations based on the color of the child, bottle feeding, vitamin D supplementation and season were taken into account. 

The researchers observed that increased milk consumption was linked to decreased serum ferritin and increased 25-hydroxyvitamin D. However, 2 cups of cow’s milk per day maintained the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D without having any negative effect on the level of serum ferritin. In case of children with darker skin pigmentation, 3 to 4 cups of cow’s milk per day were required to maintain 25-hydroxyvitamin D reserves at adequate levels.

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Date: 
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
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