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Milk: 90% of Americans Fall Short of Key Nutrients

Published: 2011/01/11 - Updated: 2021/03/26
Author: Feeding America - Contact:
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Synopsis: Many Americans are overweight and undernourished concludes a new study called What America is Missing. The new research, which analyzed government food consumption survey data, indicates that nine out of 10 Americans fall short of key nutrients in their diets. A serving of milk offers nine essential nutrients and is the single greatest source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium in the American diet - no other food contributes more of these essential nutrients.


Main Digest

Nine out of 10 Americans fall short of key nutrients they need, new study concludes. Actress Susan Sarandon joins the Milk Mustache Campaign to encourage moms to 'Pour One More' to help close the nation's nutrient gap.

At a time when the country is facing an obesity epidemic, the problem of nutrition inadequacy is often overlooked. Yet, many Americans are overweight and undernourished, concludes a new study called "What America's Missing."(1)

The new research, which analyzed government food consumption survey data, indicates that nine out of 10 Americans fall short of key nutrients in their diets - shortages that could put their health at risk. The report identifies a total of 11 "gap nutrients," including calcium, vitamin D and potassium - three of the "nutrients of concern" identified in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's report.

Closing the Gap

To help close the nation's nutrient gap, the National Milk Mustache "got milk" Campaign is launching an education initiative today on 1-11-11 to showcase the power of "pouring one more" with the help of actress, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and mom-of-three Susan Sarandon. Sarandon appears in a new milk commercial airing today, directed by noted actor-director Tony Goldwyn. She also dons a milk mustache in her own "got milk" print ad that debuts January 12 in Parenting Magazine. Both ads encourage moms to "Pour One More" serving of milk to help ensure their families get the nutrients they need. The print copy says:

Easy act to follow. 9 out of 10 Americans aren't getting the essential nutrients we need. That's a serious gap. But just one more serving of nutrient-rich milk a day for you and your family can help fill it. Sometimes the smallest acts make the biggest difference. So, pour one more.

"Moms have tremendous power to influence the family's behavior, and that's particularly true when it comes to what they eat and drink," said Sarandon. "It's extremely concerning to me to see the large numbers of people who aren't getting adequate nourishment every day. I want moms to know that by simply pouring one more serving of milk a day they're doing something positive that can help correct some of these shortages and bridge the nutrient gap."

A serving of milk offers nine essential nutrients and is the single greatest source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium in the American diet - no other food contributes more of these essential nutrients. Milk provides nearly a quarter of America's calcium and nearly half of the vitamin D in our diets.

One Million Servings to Help America "Pour One More"

In addition to the new ads, America's milk processors will be helping moms "pour one more" by giving away more than a million servings of milk this month at events from coast to coast and online at Families can enter for a chance to win a free year of milk for themselves as well as for a family in need through a partnership with Feeding America. The website also features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from Sarandon's ad shoot, her advice on building a strong family and additional details from the "What America's Missing" research report.

The Great American Nutrient Gap

Potassium, fiber, vitamin D and calcium suffer the widest gap with the greatest number of Americans falling short of daily recommendations among the identified 11 gap nutrients, according to the report. Vitamins A, B-6 and B-12, zinc, folate, magnesium and iron round out the list.

"The nation's nutrient shortages are directly linked to the under-consumption of the specific foods and beverages that supply these nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lowfat milk," said New York-based registered dietitian Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, author of Feed Your Family Right! and Nutrition at Your Fingertips.

"It's not that difficult to make a few simple changes to fix these widespread shortages. That's why I like the concept of just 'pouring one more.' It's a small, achievable change that could make a big difference."

"Milk, in particular, is something that's likely already in your refrigerator," Zied said. "So it's not too difficult to think about adding just one more serving a day. Also, the idea of 'pouring one more' can be accomplished in several ways - whether you're filling up a glass with lowfat milk, adding it to cereal or oatmeal, drinking a latte or making a smoothie."

Milk in America

On average, Americans today are drinking only about a single serving of milk each day - falling far short of the recommended three 8-ounce servings of lowfat or fat free milk and milk products (or two servings for children ages eight and younger). The milk gap starts around age nine and continually gets wider, especially among adolescent girls and women. Overall, eight out of 10 Americans are not consuming the recommended amount of milk, and consequently, are missing out on the nutrients it provides.

Milk is naturally nutrient-rich like no other beverage. Thanks to milk's unique nutrient package, pouring even just one more serving each day would shrink the gap for 10 of the 11 gap nutrients as defined in the study, and completely close the gap for calcium, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12.

"Pour One More" and Help Families In Need

The "Pour One More" campaign is encouraging Americans to raise awareness of the nutrient gap and help families in need by passing a virtual glass of milk to friends on Facebook ( For every virtual glass passed, $1 will go to Feeding America (up to $150,000). Feeding America is the nation's largest hunger-relief organization which feeds more than 37 million people facing hunger in this country.

The campaign also will give away more than one million servings of milk and offer a chance for families to win a year's worth of milk by signing up at For every one of the 120 winning families, a year's supply of free milk will go to a family in need, as well.

Local Market Events

The campaign is hitting the road to visit cities throughout the country where popular local professional football players and their families are scheduled to distribute one more serving of milk to local families. In addition to receiving milk samples, the "Pour One More" local events will provide the opportunity to take a free milk mustache photo, meet a local football player and learn more about benefits of adding an additional serving of milk. Go to to find out if the Pour One More tour is coming to your town.

National Milk Mustache "Got Milk" Campaign

The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The MilkPEP Board runs the National Milk Mustache "got milk" Campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the health benefits of milk. For more information, go to

Deutsch, A Lowe and Partners Company, is the creative agency for the National Milk Mustache "got milk" Campaign.

Feeding America

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks serve 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit

(1) What America's Missing: A 2011 Report on the Nation's Nutrient Gap. Created by the Milk Processor Education Program Dairy Research Institute which is affiliated with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Data is based on national food consumption surveys, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


This quality-reviewed article relating to our Nutrition and Healthy Food section was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "Milk: 90% of Americans Fall Short of Key Nutrients" was originally written by Feeding America, and published by on 2011/01/11 (Updated: 2021/03/26). Should you require further information or clarification, Feeding America can be contacted at Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

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