Thinking about nutrition

I have been contemplating Dairy UK’s webinar for health professions and academics on the merits of having dairy in the diets of schoolchildren since I watched it the first time on World School Milk Day 28 September, and then rewatched it again, last week. Of course, there was a lot on good nutrition at low cost, which is often looked at as cow’s milk unique selling point. However, I always learn new things, even after 17-odd years in the business.

Dr Penny Rumbold, a senior lecturer in sports exercise and nutrition at Northumbria University, pointed out that often we just don’t think hydration about in relation to milk. Children are at higher risk of dehydration, and some schools don’t enable free access to fluids/choice of fluids, so more often than not children arrive dehydrated at the school gates, she noted. They are not very aware of their hydration status because they’re too busy running around and being kids. Milk can deliver so much to the child: water, sodium, potassium and protein, along with the known benefits linked to fluid retention. As milk has very good protein content, it leads to slower gastric emptying and improved fluid retention.

This all helps with cognitive function and better performance at school. It seems a simple premise, but the industry has to continue to be a megaphone for the benefits that milk and dairy overall bring, from omega-3 to vitamins and minerals that build bones and help children grow both physically and mentally.

And that’s another nutrient that is not often looked at in dairy, omega-3. Dr Therese O’Sullivan of Edith Cowan University in Australia presented the latest evidence on dairy fats and children’s health, noting that dairy fats have a unique combination of saturated fatty acids that don’t act the same as other fatty acids. Dairy is also an important source of long chain omega-3s, which children who don’t eat fish don’t get a lot of.

All good information to be used. A worthwhile event. Another webinar is scheduled for 22 November at 11am – Nutrition for Life: First 1,000 Days. Sign up at

Related content

Leave a reply

Dairy Industries International