On Leave It to Beaver, Wally and the Beav snacked after school on milk and cookies. Of course, that was TV fiction, but so is any contention that cow’s milk is good for you. As a doctor specializing in nutrition for more than 14 years, I can attest that in discouraging D.C.-area schoolchildren from drinking cow’s milk, PETA is on medically solid ground (“Got Milk Protesters?” 2/2).

I would never prescribe drinking cow’s milk to youngsters, their folks, or anyone else. Not after school. Not for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Not ever. In that, I strongly agree with the late pediatrician Benjamin Spock, M.D. In the 1998 edition of his bestselling Baby and Child Care, Dr. Spock recommended raising children from birth on a vegan diet, free of cholesterol-laden dairy, meat, and eggs.

Did you know that artery blockages now start as early as age 3 and that heart disease—which is heavily linked with consuming animal products, including dairy—now kills half of all Americans? Other milk-drinking-related maladies that all those mustache ads, “Got milk?” pitches, and dairy-industry-supplied classroom materials ignore include diabetes, asthma, colic, ear infections, and possibly breast and prostate cancers. Lactose intolerance affects millions of Americans, especially nonwhites. As for osteoporosis, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study actually documented more bone fractures in heavy milk drinkers than in those who drank little or no milk.

D.C.-area schools should be promoting water, soy milks, and real fruit juices as much healthier beverage choices than milk or soft drinks.


Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine