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Dairy’s Role in Child and Teen Nutrition + Health

Dairy foods offer a unique package of nutrients that work together to provide multiple health benefits for children and teens.


Dairy foods offer a unique package of nutrients that work together to provide multiple health benefits for children and teens, including optimal growth and development, energy for active lifestyles and reduced risk of developing overweight and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease later in life.


Bone and muscle developmentBone + Muscle Development

Bone Mass

Source: Be Healthy Enough


Brain developmentBrain Development


Active children and teens


Active Children + Teens


Student success


Student Success


Lactose IntoleraneTeen NutritionLactose Intolerant?


Pairing fruits, vegetables and whole grains with dairy for meals and snacks 3 times per day sets a foundation for lifelong healthy eating patterns.16

Research Summary


How School Meals Support Healthier Kids

Bessie O'Conner, RDN, explains how school meals provide kids an access point for nutritious foods.

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Why is Nutrition Important for Children?

Bessie O'Conner, RDN, explains how pregnancy and the first 1,000 days have lifelong health benefits.

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How Does Nutrition Ed Support SEL?

Megan Holdaway, RDN, identifies the five core pillars of Social Emotional Learning.

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Encouraging Children to Eat Healthfully

Megan Holdaway, RDN, shares tips to inspire shaping healthy eating habits over time.

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What Are Healthy Snacks For Kids?

Maureen Bligh, RDN, explores the role of snacking, emphasizing smart snacking as an avenue for kids.

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Why Should Kids Eat Breakfast?

Maureen Bligh, RDN, examines the advantages of consuming breakfast & the risks with skipping.

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1. Heaney RP. Dairy and bone health. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009;28(Suppl1):82S-90S. DOI:10.1080/07315724.2009.10719808

2. Aili Li, et al. Research progress of milk and dairy products to prevent caries. Journal of Functional Foods. 2023;110:105837. DOI:10.1016/j.jff.2023.105837

3. Weaver CM, Gordon CM, Janz KF, et al. The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s position statement on peak bone mass development and lifestyle factors: a systematic review and implementation recommendations. Osteoporos Int .
2016;27:1281–1386. DOI:10.1007/s00198-015-3440-3

4. Roberts M, Tolar-Peterson T, Reynolds A, Wall C, Reeder N, Rico Mendez G. The effects of nutritional interventions on the cognitive development of preschool-age children: A systematic review. Nutrients. 2022;14(3):532. DOI:10.3390/

5. Georgieff MK, Ramel SE, Cusick SE. Nutritional influences on brain development. Acta Paediatr. 2018;107(8):1310-1321. DOI:10.1111/apa.14287

6. Stress and health. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website. October 1, 2021. Accessed November, 30 2023. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/stress-and-health 

7. Desbrow B, Jansen S, Barrett A, Leveritt MD, Irwin C. Comparing the rehydration potential of different milk-based drinks to a carbohydrate–electrolyte beverage. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014;39(12):1366-1372. DOI:10.1139/apnm-2014-0174

8. Volterman KA, Obeid J, Wilk B, Timmons BW. Effect of milk consumption on rehydration in youth following exercise in the heat. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014;39(11):1257-1264. DOI:10.1139/apnm-2014-0047

9. Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Flye AD, Stager JM. Chocolate milk as a post exercise recovery aid. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006;16(1):78-91. DOI: 10.1123/ijsnem.16.1.78

10. National Dairy Council. 13 ways milk can help your body.2021. Accessed Nov 2022 at: https://www.usdairy.com/getmedia/0caf28ce-c6ce-4be0-adfd-dbc208f942a3/13-nutrients-in-milk-infographic-2021.pdf 

11. Tardy A-L, Pouteau E, Marquez D, Yilmaz C, Scholey A. Vitamins and minerals for energy, fatigue and cognition: A narrative review of the biochemical and clinical evidence. Nutrients.2020;12(1):228. DOI:10.3390/nu12010228

12. Calder PC. Optimal nutritional status for a well-functioning immune system is an important factor to protect against viral infections. Nutrients. 2020;12(4). DOI: 10.3390/nu12041181

13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School Meals. Updated October, 19 2022. Accessed November 30, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/schoolmeals.htm

14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health and Academic Achievement.
Accessed November 30, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/schoolmeals.htm  

15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School nutrition and the social and emotional climate and learning. September 21, 2021. Accessed November 30, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/school_nutrition_sec.htm#:~:text=Providing%20nutrition%20education%20can%20teach,of%20feeling%20hungry%20and%20full.&text=Encouraging%20teachers%20to%20eat%20meals,and%20strengthen%20relationships%20with%20students   

16. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human
Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th ed. 2020.
Accessed November, 30 2023. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials 


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