Our expert says:
The reason why children under the age of 4 years should consume full-cream dairy products is that they require the higher calcium intake provided by full-cream dairy products such as milk and yoghurt. According to the SA Food Tables, full-cream milk contains 257 mg of calcium/100 ml, while low-fat milk contains 122 mg of calcium/100 ml. Small children cannot consume the same large quantities of milk or yoghurt that an adult consumes on a daily basis, so it is indeed better to give them full-cream dairy products than skim milk, etc. In addition the fats in full-cream milk and yoghurt are regarded as beneficial to young children because they can contribute to the requirements for omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids which play a role in brain development. By removing the fat from milk and dairy products, the vitamin A content is also reduced considerably. Thus it may be a good idea to still provide full-cream milk and yoghurt to your 3-year-old until he reaches the age of 4 years.
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