Ads call chocolate milk a nutritious school option

By Emily Fredrix
Associated Press / November 9, 2009

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MILWAUKEE - The creators of the “Got Milk?’’ campaign are getting ready to make a big push to keep chocolate milk on children’s minds and on school lunch menus, a plan that has some educators and obesity activists none too pleased.

The new ad campaign from the dairy industry, set to launch today, emphasizes that sugary flavorings are ways to get children to drink milk. Without them, some youngsters won’t drink regular milk and get its nutrients, the ads say.

The Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk campaign starts with an ad in USA Today featuring chocolaty brown colors and the launch of a website that asks people to sign a petition declaring their support for chocolate milk in school.

But some educators and obesity specialists say children get enough calcium, essential for bone growth, and will drink white milk if it’s the only milk offered. They say children get too much sugar, which is heightening America’s obesity problem.

The idea behind the campaign is to draw a distinction between chocolate milk and the soda that has come under attack in schools, said Vivien Godfrey, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program, the industry marketing group that developed the campaign with the National Dairy Council.