Started by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), World School Milk Day falls on 26th September this year. It was started as an initiative to create awareness of school milk programs and celebrate the benefits of the programs.
An analysis of the South East Asian Nutrition Surveys (SEANUTS) study showed that a large proportion of children did not meet their daily recommended intake (RDI) of many nutrients including calcium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin D. (1) A varied diet with sufficient intake of nutrients is important for healthy growth and development.
Milk is found in many dietary guidelines worldwide because of the contribution it makes to the intake of nutrients, such as protein, calcium and vitamins B2 and B12. Protein provides the essential amino acids needed to aid in the building and maintenance of body tissues, helps in tissue building, and height and weight growth. (2) Calcium helps to support development of strong bones and teeth. In many Asian countries, milk and other dairy products are fortified with vitamins A and D. Vitamin D contributes to several functions in the body including the maintenance of normal muscle function and the maintenance of normal bones and teeth. Vitamin A contributes to the normal function of the immune system.
Every country’s nutritional guideline recommends milk intake in accordance with the country’s particular culture and eating habits. Many recommend the consumption of 2-3 portions of milk each day. (3)
- Nguyen et al (2018). The consumption of dairy and its association with nutritional status in the South East Asian Nutrition Surveys (SEANUTS). Nutrients, 2018, 13;10(6).
- Puentes et al (2016). Early life height and weight production functions with endogenous energy and protein inputs. Economics & Human Biology 2016; 22: 65–81.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (2017). Food-based dietary guidelines. Retrieved via http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-dietary-guidelines/home/en/ (visited April 2017).