Cynthia's Interests

The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Health Concerns of Infants and Children (milk consumption)

You really have to wonder why the government endorses the milk industry and allows a multi-million dollar marketing campaign designed to keep people drinking milk, particularly children when there is sufficient scientific evidence to show that many Americans are in fact lactose intolerance. For instance, approximately 95 percent of Asian Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians are lactose intolerance [1]. This is considered racial bias, a total disregard of the adverse consequences of the consumption of milk on the health of minorities. The symptoms include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and flatulence, occur because these individuals do not have the enzymes that digest the milk sugar lactose. Additionally, along with unwanted symptoms, milk-drinkers are also putting themselves at risk for development of other chronic diseases and ailments.

Some people believe (scientists and activists) that at some point the milk industry will have to pay millions of dollars to settle all of the health related expenses associated with milk consumption just like the tobacco industry had to pay to the various states. We all know that if you take a look at children, particularly African Americans, they are becoming seriously obese at an alarming rate. The Center for Disease Control had this to say about obesity, the epidemic is out of control for adults and we can't do anything for them, but we must try and circumvent obesity in children. One of the ways they are trying to reverse the trend of obesity in children is putting the body mass index on children’s report card. This is a controversial issue as some parents think it will embarrass those children who are too fat, i.e. stigmatize them. Since the government knows that milk is dangerous, especially this rBGH milk, you would think that they have a moral obligation to protect its citizens from harm. But instead, the American public is being bombarded with advertisements that says “milk does the body good”? It appears the only benefactors of milk are those who own stock in the milk industry. According to the Cancer prevention coalition website - "Milk is America’s Health problem" (The Health Problem).

These are some of the problems associated with milk consumption in children alone. What’s not listed is that American children are entering puberty at an earlier age (~9 years old) and this has also been linked to an increase of hormones in the diet from not only milk, but meats also.

Health Risks to children:

Milk proteins, milk sugar, fat, and saturated fat in dairy products may pose health risks for children and lead to the development of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and formation of athersclerotic plaques that can lead to heart disease. Insulin-dependent diabetes (Type I or childhood-onset) is linked to consumption of dairy products. Epidemiological studies of various countries show a strong correlation between the use of dairy products and the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes [2,3]. Researchers in 1992 [3] found that a specific dairy protein sparks an autoimmune reaction, which is believed to be what destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants below one year of age not be given whole cow’s milk, as iron deficiency is more likely on a dairy-rich diet. Cow’s milk products are very low in iron. If they become a major part of one’s diet, iron deficiency is more likely[4]. Colic is an additional concern with milk consumption. One out of every five babies suffers from colic. Pediatricians learned long ago that cows’ milk was often the reason. We now know that breastfeeding mothers can have colicky babies if the mothers are consuming cow’s milk. The cows’ antibodies can pass through the mother’s bloodstream into her breast milk and to the baby[5]. Additionally, food allergies appear to be common results of milk consumption, particularly in children. At least one study[6] has linked cow’s milk consumption to chronic constipation in children. Researchers suggest that milk consumption resulted in perianal sores and severe pain on defecation, leading to constipation.

The undifferentiated pre-natal and infant breast is particularly susceptible to hormonal influences. (Ekbom, et al. 1992) Such imprinting by IGF-1 may increase future breast cancer risks, and may also increase the sensitivity of the breast to subsequent unrelated risks such as mammography and the carcinogenic and estrogen-like effects of pesticide residues in food, particularly in pre-menopausal women. (Elwood, et al, 1993). Our children are sick and unhealthy when it is not necessary. We must research what the government is doing and what big businesses are doing to the food in the US for the sake of profits…


1. Bertron P, Barnard ND, Mills M. Racial bias in federal nutrition policy, part I: the public health implications of variations in lactase persistence. J Natl Med Assoc 1999;91:151-7.

2. Scott FW. Cow milk and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: is there a relationship? Am J Clin Nutr 1990;51:489-91.

3. Karjalainen J, Martin JM, Knip M, et al. A bovine albumin peptide as a possible trigger of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med 1992;327:302-7.

4. Pennington JAT. Bowes and Churches Food Values of Portions Commonly Used, 17th ed. New York: Lippincott, 1998.

5. Clyne PS, Kulczycki A. Human breast milk contains bovine IgG. Relationship to infant colic? Pediatrics 1991;87(4):439-44. 6. Iacono G, Cavataio F, Montalto G, et al. Intolerance of cow’s milk and chronic constipation in children. N Engl J Med 1998;339:110-4.

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