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Under Consideration Next Door: Conn. May Ban Chocolate Milk in Public Schools

A bill to ban the serving of chocolate milk in public schools was approved by Connecticut legislators. Now it's up to Gov. Dan Malloy to decide.

Written by Gary Jeanfaivre

With the stroke of a pen from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut would become the first state in the nation to ban the sale of chocolate milk in public schools.

The state's General Assembly has approved the bill; it's now up to Malloy to ratify or veto it.

Malloy, a Democrat facing a tough re-election bid this year, has not indicated whether he will sign the bill. In a statement issued Friday, the governor says he is, in general, not supportive of it.

"This specific bill has not yet come to the Governor's desk and will be reviewed in detail when it arrives," said Andrew Doba, Malloy's Director of Communications.    "However, on the broader topic at hand, the Governor is not supportive of banning chocolate milk in public schools. While we must be extremely mindful of the nutritional value of what's offered to students, ensuring an appropriate array of options helps to ensure that kids receive the calcium and other nutrients they need."

The proposed ban is part of a larger education bill that legislators approved on the final day of its session, which wrapped up last week, and was "inadvertently" added at the last minute, Trish Molloy, president of the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut, told the Hartford Courant.

The bill is designed to cut back on drinks that are high in sugar and sodium. Yet milk, even the chocolate variety, offer key nutrients and some experts are concerned of the impacts that could have.

That's because some studies have shown that overall milk consumption drops when chocolate milk is no longer an option.

Chocolate Milk Ban Spoils

In its articleThe Courant cites two cases — one from 11 elementary schools in Oregon and another from New Haven, Conn. — which showed that overall milk consumption went down following a ban on chocolate milk in their schools. In Fairfax County, the district's ban of chocolate milk was so unpopular that it was rescinded a year later, The Courant reports, citing The Washington Post.

According to the CDC, "Milk contains vitamins and other nutrients that contribute to good health, but it also contains calories. Choosing low-fat or fat-free milk is a good way to reduce your calorie intake and still get the nutrients that milk contains."

An 8 ounce cup of whole chocolate milk contains 58 more calories than an equal size cup of whole milk, according to the CDC. 

CDC Facts on Childhood Obesity
  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.

  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

  • Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.

  • Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

What Do You Think? 

Should Gov. Malloy sign the bill? Should New York consider a similar ban? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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