The majority of children in North America consume cow-milk daily. Children aged >2 y are recommended to consume reduced-fat (0.1–2%) cow-milk to lower the risk of obesity..
..In 18 studies, higher cow-milk fat consumption was associated with lower child adiposity, and 10 studies did not identify an association. Meta-analysis included 14 of the 28 studies (n = 20,897) that measured the proportion of children who consumed whole milk compared with reduced-fat milk and direct measures of overweight or obesity. Among children who consumed whole (3.25% fat) compared with reduced-fat (0.1–2%) milk, the OR of overweight or obesity was 0.61 (95% CI: 0.52, 0.72; P < 0.0001), but heterogeneity between studies was high (I2 = 73.8%).
Observational research suggests that higher cow-milk fat intake is associated with lower childhood adiposity. International guidelines that recommend reduced-fat milk for children might not lower the risk of childhood obesity. Randomized trials are needed to determine which cow-milk fat minimizes risk of excess adiposity.