Study Criticizes Marketing for “Toddler Milks”
A Public Health Nutrition study has purportedly found that “toddler milks,” or “sugar-sweetened milk-based drinks for toddlers,” are a growing market but are advertised as providing unsubstantiated benefits. Choi et al., “US toddler milk sales and associations with marketing practices,” Public Health Nutrition, February 4, 2020. The researchers reportedly found that 45% of preschoolers (24 to 47.9 months) and 31% of young toddlers (12 to 23.9 months) consume sugar-sweetened beverages each day. “[T]oddler milk packages contain numerous nutrition-related and child development claims, such as ‘DHA and iron to help support brain development’ and ‘probiotics to help support digestive health’, which have not been supported by scientific research,” the researchers assert. “These claims may mislead caregivers to believe that toddler milk provides benefits for their child’s nutrition and development.” The researchers called for countries “to enact Code provisions” that would limit or prohibit the promotion of breast milk substitutes, including toddler milks, to the general public; for countries that do have such regulations, the researchers called for toddler milks to be included in the definition of breast milk substitutes.