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Per capita U.S. milk consumption fell for all ages during 1977-2008

Federal dietary guidance recommends 2 cup-equivalents of dairy products per day for children ages 2-3 years, 2.5 for those ages 4-8, and 3 for Americans older than 8. However, per capita dairy consumption has been steady at about 1.5 cup-equivalents since the 1970s, despite a near tripling of cheese consumption. This static per capita dairy consumption is due to Americans drinking progressively less fluid milk—children as well as adults. USDA food intake surveys show a 25-percent decline in milk consumption by American teenagers and adults, from 0.8 cups per day in 1977-78 to 0.6 cups in 2007-08, and a 30-percent drop for children ages 2-12. In 2007-08, preadolescent children drank an average of 1.2 cups of milk per day versus 1.7 cups in 1977-78. This chart appears in “Americans Not Drinking Milk as Often as Their Parents Did” in ERS’s Amber Waves magazine, September 2013.

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Last updated: Monday, September 09, 2013

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