Reading Time: 2 minutes The U.K. government wants to fight the growing problem of childhood obesity (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Taking dairy milk off the menu for school children and replacing it with plant milk or other plant-based foods could help tackle the U.K’s obesity crisis, a nutritionist has said.

Around £7 million of taxpayers’ money is spent on providing all school children in the U.K. aged five and under access to free cow’s milk, as well as children aged five to 18 who receive free school meals.

Dairy consumption and obesity,

But according to Registered Associate Nutritionist Leila Dehghan-Zaklaki, ditching dairy products should be part of the government’s plans to help people become a healthier weight.

In a statement sent to Plant Based News, she said: “There is a link between dairy consumption and obesity, which studies funded by the dairy industry or links to dairy industry deny. 

“About 65 percent of fat in dairy milk is saturated fat, and the consumption of whole milk, cream and cheese in particular is problematic. Cheese can contain up to 70 percent fat – a fact that’s often overlooked.” 

Black African and Black Caribbean adults

She added: “In the UK, Black African and Black Caribbean adults have the highest incidence of obesity.

“This is something that healthcare professionals and policymakers need to address because obesity has been identified as one of the major risk factors for severe COVID-19 illnesses.

“This may also be one of the reasons why the mortality rate among BAME communities is disproportionately higher. The government is launching a weight-loss campaign to prepare the country for a second wave of COVID-19, and ditching dairy and dairy products needs to be part of that campaign.”

World Plant Milk Day

Leila Dehghan-Zaklaki has partnered global initiative World Plant Milk Day (WPMD), which takes place annually on August 22, to urge the government to offer children plant-based milk instead of dairy.

In addition, the campaign says other foods scientifically found to be healthful, such as plant milks, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and pulses should be on the menu instead.

World Plant Milk Day is calling on people to sign its 7-day dairy-free challenge. Already ditched dairy? Nominate your friends and family to take part. Find out more here

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.