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Frequency using milk to drink or on cereal, past month

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults, MILKMO reports how many times the respondent drank milk in a specified time period. This includes milk consumed on its own, or on cereal, but not in coffee or tea. Other survey years report food frequency in a standardized format, recording the number of times a year a food was consumed and the corresponding time unit. NHIS food frequencies in 2005 are instead classified into pre-defined frequency categories. Researchers interested in using more years of available data may consider modifying the standardized food frequency format MILKMNO and MILKMTP (or MILKYR, a recoded version of the standardized format) to correspond to the pre-defined categories from 2005. Data users interested in the type of milk consumed should see MILKTYPE.

MILKMO is part of a series of variables initiated in 1987 related to food, food knowledge, and cancer. For related variables, please use the IPUMS NHIS search function and drop-down menus.


There are no comparability issues with MILKMO. There are, however, other variables that allow for making comparisons across more samples as the food frequency questions related to milk have changed across years.


Prior to 2000, respondents were asked to separately report the frequency with which they drank three different kinds of milk. These responses have been recoded and combined to create a harmonized variable (MILKYR; MILKTYPE provides data on the type of milk most consumed).

Beginning in 2000 respondents were instead asked about the frequency for milk consumption in general (MILKMNO and MILKMTP), and then asked about type of milk they typically consumed (MILKTYPE). The types of milk available as response categories differ across years. Whole milk and 2% milk are available as response categories in all samples. However, prior to 2000, skim milk, 1% milk, ½% milk, and buttermilk are all included in a single response category. In 2000, response categories include 1% milk, ½% milk, non-fat or skim milk, and "other" in addition to 2% and whole milk. Beginning in 2010, low-fat milk (including 1% and ½%) are condensed into a single response category; other categories include skim or non-fat milk, 2% or reduced-fat milk, whole milk, and other.


  • 2005: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 2005