Essential Nutrients for your Kid’s Growth

Take out the marker. It’s time to add a new line on the growth chart.

Real milk is the leading food source for 9 essential nutrients in children 2–18 years of age, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Together, these nutrients help fuel kids during their critical growth years and beyond (1,2).

Recent research suggests regularly drinking more milk throughout childhood is associated with an increase in teenage height. In fact, each additional glass of milk kids drank per day growing up increased their height at age 17 by around 0.39 cm (3).

That means the more milk kids drank regularly throughout childhood, the taller they were at age 17. Water and other beverages (100% juice and sugar-sweetened beverages) didn’t have the same effect. That’s one of the reasons why experts recommend including milk in kids’ diets every day.

To gather this information, researchers followed a group of more than 700 kids from the time they were born, analyzing height and diet from ages 2-17. Researchers also looked at calories and specific nutrients. Only milk, and to a slight degree calcium, was associated with kids’ height.

These findings add to a growing body of research that suggests regularly drinking milk during the growing years (all the way through late teens/early twenties) is associated with greater height in the teen years. Research has also linked regularly skipping milk to reduced height and increased fracture rates (4-6).

1. Food Sources of Energy and Nutrients Among Children in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

2. Higher Longitudinal Milk Intakes Are Associated with Increased Height in a Birth Cohort Followed for 17 Years.

3. Does Milk Make Children Grow? Relationships Between Milk Consumption and Height in NHANES 1999-2002.

4. Two-Year Changes in Bone and Body Composition In Young Children with a History of Prolonged Milk Avoidance.

5. Children Who Avoid Drinking Cow’s Milk Are at Increased Risk for Prepubertal Bone Fractures.


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