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Half-Pint Health: The Death Of School Cafeteria Chocolate Milk?

(Photo by Editor B via Flickr)
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When the Los Angeles Unified School District's dairy contract expires on June 30, superintendent John Deasy plans to recommend spilling flavored milk -- chocolate and strawberry -- off the menus of 650,000 meals served daily by LAUSD. Currently, 60% of the milk consumed by L.A. Unified students is flavored, according to the LA Times.

"Youth health has been an issue that has been very present to me — the epidemic of obesity, the epidemic of childhood diabetes, access to locally grown organic foods. The issue of getting the best quality of nutrition," Deasy said in a telephone interview. "We have to come together as a community and say 'There are fat kids here and we all have to support the fat kids,'" said Jennie Cook, a Los Angeles parent and caterer working for school food reform. "We have to stop dancing around the fact."

On par with a cup of Coke, a cup of the strawberry-flavored fat-free milk served in L.A. schools has 130 calories and 26 grams of sugar. The option of fat-free chocolate milk checks in with 120 calories and 20 grams of sugar, while unflavored 1% milk has 120 calories and 14 grams of sugar.

In California, Berkeley, Compton and San Diego have all opted to eliminate flavored milk from some meal plans. Los Angeles, "where about one in three kids is overweight or obese," would be the largest district to make such a change.