School foods are the richest source of dairy products in children's diets

Chart showing average dairy product density by food source, 2007-10

“Back to school” means back to school-provided lunches and breakfasts for many students. Intake data from the 2007-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reveal that school foods provide the highest dairy product density among all food sources in children’s diets. For each 1,000 calories consumed by children age 2-19, school foods offer an average of 1.9 cups of dairy products, compared to 0.9 cups for foods from restaurants and fast food places. School foods are the only food source that meets the recommended amount of dairy products. Foods consumed by children at home contain 1.2 cups of dairy products for each 1,000 calories, higher than the 0.9 cups in food consumed by adults at home. The statistics for this chart are from ERS’s Food Consumption and Nutrient Intakes data product.

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