Milk, it does a district good

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Many special occasions call for raising a drinking glass and proposing a toast. A new program to get students to drink milk and recycle the bottle is cause for such celebration.

The American Dairy Association (ADA), City of Grove City, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) and South-Western City Schools were sponsors of the first year program Town Toast: Creating a Healthier Generation and a Greener Community.

"It was a milk party, if you will," said Jan Berendsen, school marketing manager in the Ohio and West Virginia region for the ADA.

At the Town Toast, held at Park Street Intermediate School on Feb. 20, faculty members, Grove City Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage and all the students drank one of their daily serving of dairy and were educated about the importance that milk has on the body and the importance of recycling.

"We believe by making recycling a visible part of their school day, students will come to accept it as part of their daily routine," SWACO Executive Director Ron Mills noted. "As recycling becomes more a part of our everyday life, it will have a greater impact on the environment and our quality of life in central Ohio."

One impact the pilot program is already making is in the SWACO landfill.

"It is estimated that the new bottles will save more than eight pounds of refuse per student this school year alone," said Berendsen.

At the beginning of the school year, SWCS replaced milk cartons with single serve plastic bottles.

"In a study done, it was discovered that 37 percent of children drank more milk when served in plastic bottles rather than the milk cartons," Berendsen said.

It may seem like odd kid logic, but Berendsen explained the reasoning behind the data.

"With the plastic bottles, children think the milk is colder, therefore it is better and they also think the bottles are the coolest."

What the students are finding out is that milk consumption is helping to strengthen their growing bodies. Milk is packed with nine essential nutrients. Those nutrients include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin and calcium.

"One out of ten girls, and three out of ten boys do not get enough calcium," said Berendsen.

She also recommends drinking a glass of chocolate milk after school activities, or at the end of exercising, instead of reaching for that sports drink.

"You’ll get the much needed carbohydrates and nutrients that will help your body hydrate."

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