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Toddler Milk Perceptions and Purchases: The Role of Latino Ethnicity


Duffy, Emily W.; Taillie, Lindsey Smith; Richter, Ana Paula C.; Higgins, Isabella C. A.; Harris, Jennifer L.; & Hall, Marissa G. (Online ahead of print). Toddler Milk Perceptions and Purchases: The Role of Latino Ethnicity. Public Health Nutrition.


OBJECTIVES: Toddler milk (i.e., a nutrient-fortified milk-based drink marketed for children 12-36 months old) is increasingly being marketed in the US despite not being recommended for young children. There is evidence of targeted toddler milk marketing to Latinos in the US. This study aimed to explore toddler milk perceptions and behaviors among Latino and non-Latino parents.
DESIGN: An online survey assessed toddler milk perceptions, behaviors, and interpretations of nutrition-related claims. Multivariable logistic and linear regression explored sociodemographic correlates of parent reported past purchases and perceived healthfulness.
SETTING: Online.
PARTICIPANTS: National convenience sample of 1,078 US parents of children ages 2-12 (48% Latino).
RESULTS: About half of parents (51%) had previously purchased toddler milk and few (11%) perceived toddler milk as unhealthy. Latino parents were more likely to have purchased toddler milk than non-Latino parents (p<0.001), but there were no differences in perceived product healthfulness (p=0.47). Compared to parents born in the US, parents living in the US 10 years or less were more likely to have purchased toddler milk (p<0.001) and perceive toddler milk as healthier (p=0.002). Open-ended interpretations of claims were primarily positive, suggesting "health halo" effects.
CONCLUSIONS: Common misperceptions about toddler milk healthfulness suggest stronger labeling regulations are needed. Greater reported purchases by Latino parents and recent immigrants warrant further investigation.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published

Online ahead of print

Journal Title

Public Health Nutrition


Duffy, Emily W.
Taillie, Lindsey Smith
Richter, Ana Paula C.
Higgins, Isabella C. A.
Harris, Jennifer L.
Hall, Marissa G.


United States of America