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.
Embed this chart
Download higher resolution chart (939 pixels by 688 pixels, 150 dpi)