NEW YORK — New York City public schools cut 4.6 billion calories and 422 million grams of fat a year from students' diets by eliminating whole milk, a switch that districts are adopting in the fight against obesity.
Whole milk was cut out in 2006, and fat-free chocolate milk replaced low-fat chocolate milk, according to a study that's the first to measure how banning whole milk affects school nutrition. Students didn't drink less of the healthier options, and average milk consumption increased 1.3 percent from 2004 to 2009, researchers said in the report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
School districts across the country are tweaking their cafeteria offerings and developing programs to get children to eat better and exercise more. About 17 percent of U.S. kids ages 6 to 11 are obese. In New York, which serves 1.1 million pupils and purchases more milk than any U.S. school system, 21 percent of students are obese and 18 percent are overweight, according to the city's health department.