Dairy Intakes at Age 10 Years Do Not Adversely Affect Risk of Excess Adiposity at 13 Years


Evidence of the association between milk and childhood adiposity remains inconsistent, with few data available regarding the effects by dairy fat intake amount. This study examined the relation between dairy consumption (total and full and reduced fat) at age 10 y on risk of excess adiposity at age 13 y in participants of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; n = 2455). Intakes were assessed by 3-d dietary records. Total body fat mass (TBFM) using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was examined at 13 y. Outcomes included excess TBFM (top quintile of TBFM), overweight, and change in body mass index (BMI). The highest vs. lowest quartile of total dairy consumers (g/d) at age 10 y did not have an increased risk of excess TBFM (OR: 0.73; 95% CI: 0.46, 1.16; P-trend = 0.28) and overweight (OR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.41, 1.15; P = 0.24) at age 13 y. Children in the highest quartile of full-fat dairy intakes vs. those in the lowest quartile had a reduced risk of excess TBFM (OR: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.41, 1.00; P= 0.04) and a suggestion of a reduction in overweight (OR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.40, 1.06; P = 0.19) at age 13 y. Furthermore, the highest vs. lowest consumers of full-fat products had smaller gains in BMI during follow-up [2.5 kg/m2 (95% CI: 2.2, 2.7) vs. 2.8 kg/m2 (95% CI: 2.5, 3.0); P < 0.01]. Associations with reduced-fat dairy consumption did not attain statistical significance. In this study, dairy consumption was not related to excess fat accumulation during late childhood. Estimates had wide confidence limits but generally showed inverse relations between dairy intakes and risk of excess adiposity. Additional prospective research is warranted to confirm the effects of dairy intake on obesity in children.

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Alex's Notes: Yes, yes, I know that food logs and all that dietary recall stuff has inaccuracies, but let's focus on the anti-conventional-wisdom point of this study. First of all, milk made up the vast majority of dairy intake, and not surprisingly it wasn't associated with weight-gain. More interesting, however, is that full-fat dairy intake resulted in LESS fat-gain than low-fat and no-dairy intake (about a 30% reduced risk of becoming overweight). Not really sure where to go with this other than don't fear the dairy fat (be sure to get grassfed raw milk).

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