Does Milk Really Help Your Child Grow?
Many of us may remember the tagline on milk ads from growing up, “Milk, it does a body good”. As children many of us were told that milk would give us strong bones and help us grow, and between all those “Got Milk?” ads, it was hard to ignore the message that milk was the healthiest beverage around especially for kids. Is there any truth to that belief, is milk ideal for children’s growth?
Breaking It Down
There are many things that influence a child’s growth. First is genetics. Adult height is predominantly genetic, but poor nutrition during childhood may impact maximum height potential and affect a child’s rate of growth. Therefore, it is important that growth-promoting foods and beverages be included in every child’s diet.
Milk does provide several important nutrients for growth, such as protein, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D, all in one beverage. Research involving the nutrients found in milk seems to back up the claim that milk is beneficial for growth. A meta-analysis of 12 studies conducted on children aged 3–13 years found that consumption of milk products had a positive effect on linear growth. Another study found that girls who drank three glasses of milk per day were 2.3 cm taller when compared to girls who had only 1 glass of milk per day.
The results seen in these studies may be related to the protein content of milk: whey and casein, both of which may help promote growth. Protein in general is essential for encouraging growth in children, but it seems that consuming high quality protein found in milk can make a difference.
A study of malnourished toddlers found that those who received a whey-based supplement showed faster recovery from malnutrition than toddlers who received soy-based supplements, even though the whey supplement contained 33% less total protein and provided approximately 8% fewer calories. This is likely because whey contains all the necessary amino acids required to stimulate growth and is better absorbed than plant-based proteins.
Another study analyzing male height in 105 countries found that there was a significant correlation between height and dairy intake, followed by total protein and animal protein. On the other hand, stature was most negatively correlated with a plant-based diet.
Insulin-like growth factor 1, also known as IGF-1, might also play a role in milk’s effect on height. IGF-1 is a protein that the human body naturally produces, and plays a large role in linear growth. What’s interesting is that research shows that milk drinkers actually have higher levels of IGF-1 in their bloodstream, because milk triggers those who drink it to produce more of this protein.
Drinking Milk To Boost Nutrition
Although the exact reasons why milk is effective for promoting growth are still not fully understood, the possible mechanism includes the high vitamin and mineral content in milk, many of which are needed for proper growth and development. Milk is also a convenient option that contains multiple nutrients needed to make sure your child grows at a healthy rate.
If you are worried your child is not getting enough of these important nutrients because they don’t like milk or don’t drink enough, Healthy Height™TM is a great option. Our great tasting shake mix is made from whey protein, found in milk, which is effective to promote healthy growth. It can be added to other drinks like water and used to make smoothies and other delicious recipes, so you don’t have to stress about them not drinking their milk.
The nutrition in our shake mix is clinically tested and doctor developed for children ages 3-9 who are healthy, lean, and short. Healthy Height™ also contains important vitamins and minerals designed to help your child grow. At the end of the day, what matters most is that your child is eating a diet full of a variety of healthy proteins and nutritious foods. Healthy Height™ can be a great addition to a balanced diet.