Wales leads the way amongst UK nations when it comes to providing primary school age children with healthy and nutritious milk.
The findings come as part of World School Milk Day 2021 which celebrates the benefits of healthy and nutritious school milk, and this year falls on Wednesday, September 29.
The School and Nursery Milk Alliance (SNMA) analysed the latest available data from DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) and the RPA (Rural Payments Agency) and found that as an average per population, Wales provided 65 portions of milk per primary school-age child on average while England lags behind with an average of just 19 portions of milk provided per primary school-age child.
School food standards require lower fat milk or lactose reduced milk to be available to drink at least once a day during school hours.
Improved dental and bone health
A review of evidence by Northumbria University concluded that drinking milk may support immediate and lasting dental and bone health in children and it could have a positive effect on preventing childhood obesity.
The research showed that milk may support children’s cognition, particularly when served as a mid-morning snack, and its consumption staves off hunger.
Dr. Hilary Jones said:
Regularly drinking milk could improve health outcomes for children and yet millions are missing out through a simple lack of awareness.
"There are numerous programmes available for children in schools and nurseries to access free healthy milk and yet the take up is shockingly low.
“World School Milk Day 2021 is the perfect opportunity for the government to make sure that UK schools and nurseries are aware of the different schemes that exist and encourage them to take the next step and sign up so that millions of school children across the country are able to drink free healthy milk."