Full vs Reduced Fat Dairy Products
Should children attending OSHC settings be served full or reduced fat dairy products?
Dairy foods offer a rich source of important nutrients for children. These nutrients include protein, calcium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), fat soluble vitamins, and some essential fatty acids, all of which are especially important for growth and development in children.
Protein is needed to allow new cells to be formed during growth, to help maintain muscle mass and all the body organs, and to allow the body to produce all the hormones and enzymes it requires to allow it to function well. Protein also allows our body to repair itself after injury and helps our immune system to fight infection.
Calcium is an essential component for the development of healthy bones and teeth, and for the healthy functioning of nerves and muscles. It has been identified that the amount of bone mass laid down in childhood and early adolescence has a major impact on our risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Eating enough calcium-rich foods during childhood is a key factor in the development of bone mass.
Essential fatty acids are necessary for brain development and growth. Milk is a source of a number of different fats and amino acids (which form protein) which can assist with healthy brain development.
The current Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that children over the age of two years have reduced fat dairy products, including milk, yoghurt and cheese. The calcium content of the two milks are very similar. In line with the Smart Choices Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy, NOSHC recommends all OSHC settings follow the same guidelines that are present in schools and serve reduced fat dairy products, which are GREEN items.
We would like to hear any thoughts from our members on this issue – please email [email protected] or phone 07 3257 4393.