SOURCE: California Milk Processor Board

January 02, 2008 12:01 ET

New Year's Resolution: Stay Lean With Milk

Involving the Entire Family in Health and Nutrition Goals Increases Chances of Success

SAN CLEMENTE, CA--(Marketwire - January 2, 2008) - The holidays are a time of excess, often resulting in extra pounds. Depending on what's served at the dinner table or passed around at parties, nutritionists say an average person could consume between 2,000 and 5,000 calories of food and drinks during a typical holiday celebration. Making matters worse, a report in The New England Journal of Medicine reveals that most people don't ever lose the weight they put on during the holidays. To help nip this in the bud and just in time for 2008, GOT MILK? challenges California families to maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating healthy foods such as low fat or skim milk. With obesity threatening adults and kids alike, the time is right to involve the entire family in a healthy New Year's resolution. Health experts say having family support in this venture increases the chances of success not only for the New Year, but for a lifetime.

"GOT MILK? considers health and nutrition top priorities for all families," says Steve James, Executive Director of the California Milk Processor Board, the creators of GOT MILK? "Health statistics show that adults aren't the only ones who need to make such New Year's resolutions. Parents should also play an active role in encouraging their kids to stay fit."

While Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reports that 66 percent of adults were overweight or obese in 2003-2004, such problems no longer pertain to just grown-ups. A Mayo Clinic article published in 2006 reports that one-third of children in this country are overweight or at-risk of becoming overweight, totaling to about 25 million kids. That number has doubled for children between the ages of 6 to 11 and has tripled for teenagers over the last two decades. In the Hispanic community, a 2006 National Council of La Raza Fact Sheet reports that 39.3% of Mexican-American children (the largest Hispanic group in the US) ages 6 to 11 are overweight and 23.7% are obese -- outnumbering African-Americans and Whites.

"One easy way to improve nutrition is to substitute low-fat or skim milk instead of high-calorie sugary or alcoholic drinks at meals," says Dr. Connie Schneider, PhD, Registered Dietitian with the University of California Cooperative Extension. "This easy step can help cut calories, boost nutrition and shed pounds."

Besides good nutrition, exercise is also key to staying fit. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. A fitness resource that's both low-cost and easily accessible throughout California is the local YMCA.

"We have counselors to help families achieve their New Year's resolution goals, no matter their physical condition or income level," says Elizabeth Long, Executive Director of the Sacramento YMCA. "A healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be a privilege."

Health experts say achieving a fitness resolution can be as easy as going back to basics: they suggest that families eat together at the dinner table and not in front of the TV, try fitness activities the whole family enjoys such as after-meal walks, avoid processed and junk foods that are often high in fat and sodium and consume fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat and skim milk instead.

"These are the foods we recommend during our nutrition and health education classes," says Long. "We tailor our programs to serve every age group in our community."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children drink at least three to four, eight-ounce cups of milk daily. Milk contains calcium and nutrients like vitamins D, A, B12, potassium and magnesium to maintain strong muscles and bones. The CDC also suggests that adults take between 1000 and 1200 mg of calcium, equaling to three to four servings of milk and/or other dairy products a day to avoid various bone-related problems such as osteoporosis.

For more information on the benefits of milk, weight loss tips and/or to locate fitness organizations and nutritional programs for the entire family, please visit, www.gotmilk.com.

About the CMPB

The California Milk Processor Board was established in 1993 to make milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California. GOT MILK? is a federally registered trademark that has been licensed by the national dairy boards since 1995. GOT MILK? gifts and recipes can be viewed at http://www.gotmilk.com. The CMPB is funded by all California milk processors and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

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