Smart Woman: Your Teenager and Milk

Thursday, September 16th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

They have their MTV, Nintendo and Air Jordans, but most of our teenagers are missing something from their lives. That something is milk. All of those milk-mustache commercials apparently are missing the mark. Since the 1970's, teenagers' milk consumption has dropped more than 40 per cent. This Smart Woman report looks at the problem and what parents can do to fight back.

16-year-old Patrick Allen is doing something that should make his mother proud. He's drinking milk. Allen says he drinks milk every day. Unfortunately, many of Patrick's schoolmates don't share that point of view. Children add half of their body's bone mass during their teen years. Yet only 30 per cent of boys and ten per cent of girls get the daily calcium they need. Nutritionists say it's a problem that will only get worse.

At Edison High School's cafeteria, it is obvious milk is losing to the competition. Milk cartons are scattered at tables here and there, but soda, juices and even water are more popular than milk.

Nutritionists say this is an issue parents shouldn't let slide. Whether it comes from milk, cheese, yogurt or vegetables, parents need to be sure calcium is a subject their children don't fail. They also say the trend toward replacing milk with soft drinks is becoming apparent among even younger children. 30 per cent of pre-schoolers now drink at least one soda a day.

Here's one way to give your kids a healthy dose of calcium. Start the day with a fruit smoothie. Combine yogurt, calcium-enriched juice and fruit. It's a great-tasting drink that will make a great start to any morning.