Toddler milks may be harmful to long term health, VicHealth warns

Toddler milks marketed to parents are “incredibly expensive and completely unnecessary” according to VicHealth CEO Dr Sandra Demaio.

VicHealth and Deakin University studied 50 milks targeted at children aged over 1 years of age, and found they cost up to $1.02/200ml, much more expensive than fresh milk.“This research shows that toddler milk formulas are up to four times more expensive than their regular fresh milk counterparts.

“They’re also less nutritious, containing more sugar and less protein than regular milk, while many also offer less calcium.

“Despite this, manufacturers are using Instagram influencers, targeted digital advertising and on-pack claims to try and lure Australian families into believing these ridiculously priced products are ‘essential’ for their child’s health.”

Worryingly, some toddler milks contained up to 8g more sugar per 200mL serve than an equivalent fresh milk product.

Dr Demaio said toddler milks fall into a regulatory loophole when it comes to marketing, and they may even be harmful to a child’s health long-term, urging the Federal Government to act.

“Unlike infant milk formulas, marketing claims about toddler milk products are under-regulated in Australia,” Dr Demaio said.

“This is potentially dangerous, as toddler milks could be harmful to the health of growing children.”