UN World School Milk Day

The 30th September, 2015 is the 16th World School Milk Day, designated by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) to celebrate the benefits of school milk programmes around the world.  The National Dairy Council (NDC) is using the opportunity to highlight the natural goodness of milk and the importance of the milk, yogurt and cheese food group as part of a balanced diet.

UN World School Milk Day

World School Milk Day

“National surveys have shown us that 37% of Irish girls and 28% of Irish boys aged 5-12 years don’t get enough calcium in their diet; and 42% of teenage girls, 23% of teenage boys also have insufficient calcium intakes,” says Caroline O’Donovan, NDC Nutritionist.   “Given that they are going through a significant stage of bone growth and development during those years, it is a worrying trend.”


“Milk is among the best dietary sources of calcium and the School Milk Scheme is an effective way of  helping to alleviate some of these nutrition related public health issues,” says Ms. O’Donovan.




“As a nutritionist, I would advise families to follow the Department of Health’s recommendations of 3 servings per day from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group, with 5 servings recommended for 9-18 year olds due to the importance of calcium during this life stage. Calcium is an essential nutrient for the growth and development of normal bones in children.    Examples of one serving include 200ml of milk, 125ml of yogurt or 25g of hard cheese.


The School Milk Scheme is a convenient and affordable way to help children meet the recommended intake from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group.   “This food group also supplies a range of other nutrients; for example, milk is a natural source of calcium,  protein, vitamin B12, iodine, vitamin B2 and phosphorus – making milk and dairy quite an affordable source of good nutrition,” says Ms. O’Donovan.


The NDC also provides fridges to schools registered with the School Milk Scheme to make sure milk is served refreshingly cool.   Schools interested in registering for the School Milk Scheme can contact the National Dairy Council for further information (info@ndc.ie; ph: 01-290 2451).




The National Dairy Council has produced a series of consumer leaflets on ‘Nutrition &You’ which are endorsed by the INDI (Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute) – with a leaflet specifically children, as well as one for adults and one for those aged 50+ years.


The consumer leaflets on Nutrition & You can be downloaded free from the www.ndc.ie website, where families and teachers can also find practical tips to plan lunchboxes and snacks which are enjoyable, nutritious and convenient.  The NDC’s lunch box tips issued at the start of term include some favourite lunch and snack ideas from Derval O’Rourke.   The former Olympian is an ambassador to the National Dairy Council’s ‘Moo Crew’ primary school programme.


You can find out more about the work of the National Dairy Council on its website www.ndc.ie .  You can also find the National Dairy Council on Facebook/NDCIreland or follow on Twitter @NDC_ie

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