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Maternal nutrition, infants and children

Associations between flavored milk consumption and changes in weight and body composition over time: differences among normal and overweight children



Few studies have investigated the associations between flavored milk consumption and body composition in children. We aimed to examine the prospective relationships between flavored milk consumption and body fat.


Subjects included 2270 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Flavored milk consumption at age 10 years was assessed using dietary records; consumption was dichotomized as consumers and non-consumers. Percent body fat was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at 11 and 13 years. Body weight at 11 and 13 years was included as a secondary outcome. Associations were also examined in a subset of plausible reporters to evaluate the influence of dietary reporting errors. There was an effect of interaction between flavored milk and baseline weight on body fat (P-interaction <0.02).


In plausible reporters, overweight/obese children who consumed flavored milk had less favorable changes in body fat compared with non-consumers (adjusted means: −0.16%, 95% CI: −3.8, 3.5 vs −3.4%, 95% CI: −6.5, −0.42, P=0.02). Similar associations with body weight were observed. The adjusted mean percent body fat for overweight/obese girls who consumed flavored milk was greater at age 13 compared with 11 years (39.7%, 95% CI: 32, 47 vs 38.3%, 95% CI: 32, 44). The mean percent body fat for overweight/obese boys was similar between consumers and non-consumer is at 13 years (30.4%, 95% CI: 20, 41 vs 30.1%, 95% CI: 21, 40).


Overweight/obese children who consumed flavored milk had less favorable changes in body composition over time. Although more research is needed, discouraging flavored milk consumption may be one beneficial strategy to address childhood obesity.

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We are appreciative of the families who participated in this study, the midwives for their help in recruiting participants and the ALSPAC study team. This work was supported by the American Diabetes Association (7-08-JF-41). The UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol provide support for the ALSPAC study. Physical activity assessment and other measures were funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (R01 HL071248-01A). This work was supported by the American Diabetes Association (7-08-JF-41). In addition, the UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol provided support for the ALSPAC study. Physical activity assessment and other measures were funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (R01 HL071248-01A).

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Noel, S., Ness, A., Northstone, K. et al. Associations between flavored milk consumption and changes in weight and body composition over time: differences among normal and overweight children. Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 295–300 (2013).

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  • flavored milk
  • obesity
  • body weight
  • children

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