Term Paper: Calcium Consumption Is Critical

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[. . .] And Krogstand, 2002). Studies have also shown that children not accustomed to drinking milk at an early age are less likely to obtain adequate nutrients as they age. Thus parents play a central role in promoting milk consumption among their young and impressionable children.

Parents can encourage milk consumption by also improving "packaging" and flavor. For example, nary a child exists that does not enjoy a glass of chocolate or strawberry milk with a straw. Parents should also be offering children milk as a staple at dinnertime, or even a glass of milk right before bed. By establishing milk consumption patterns early on, parents can effectively re-enforce the positive image portrayed of milk by school officials.

As mentioned previous, social learning theory has shown that environmental and personal factors strongly influence children's behaviors. Environmental factors such as product packaging, cafeteria rules and flavor are easily manipulated by schools and product producers. Personal factors include children's personal milk preferences and health beliefs. While school nutritional programs can influence personal choices, parents and peers are more likely to have an impact on personal choice factors. Both environmental and personal factors however can be influenced adequately early on, and the elementary years seem to be the prime time to influence student's choices.


Parents must indicate to their children at a young age that milk is a desirable and healthy beverage alternative to sodas heavily laden with artificial and sugary sweeteners. This task may be difficult in a society where products such as pop are marketed in flashy containers that appeal to the nation's youths. The decision to consume milk is based on many factors.

One additional factor that parents need to be aware of regarding milk consumption is the possibility of lactose intolerance or food allergies. Children exhibiting symptoms of such disorders are less likely to consume adequate calcium. This risk can be outmaneuvered however, as lactose free milk products can be offered to students, and healthy milk alternatives such as soy milk might be offered in place. School nutritional programs should incorporate awareness of such disorders so that students do not develop a misperception that all milk is unhealthy or potentially bad for them. Awareness of the potential benefits is the most critical factor in determining whether elementary aged students will consume milk.

Promotion of calcium consumption early in life is critical to the development of healthful attitudes and behaviors. Currently most elementary school students are consuming good quantities of calcium via milk consumption, due in part to the efforts and parents, teachers and foodservice managers who are working in tandem to promote the health benefits of adequate calcium consumption.


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Lytle, Leslie A.; Dixon, Lori Beth; Cunningham-Sabo, Leslie; Evans, Marguerite; Gittelsohn, Joel; Hurley, Joanne; Snyder, Pat; Stevens, June; Weber, Judy; Anliker, Jean and Hellee, Karen. (2002, April). Dietary Intakes of Native American Children: Findings from the Pathways Feasibility Study." Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Available: http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m0822/4_102/85005768/p1/article.jhtml?term=Dietary+Intakes+of+Native+American+children

McBean, M.D., and Miller, G.D. (1998). Allaying Fears and Fallacies about Lactose Intolerance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 98. 159-164.

Melnik, T.A., Rhodes, S.J., Wales, K.R., Cowell, C., and Wolfe, W.S. (1998). Food Consumption Patterns of Elementary Schoolchildren in New York City. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 98. 159-164

Packard, P. And Krogstand, K.S. Half of rural Girls aged 8 to 17 years report weight concerns and dietary changes, with both… [END OF PREVIEW]

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