Dairy and Body FatMarch 25/Health & Medicine Week -- In a recently published article, scientists in the U.S. conducted a study "to explore the relation between dairy intake and body fat among children and adolescents. Children (5-11 years) and adolescents (12-16 years) were included who had data on diet, anthropometry measures of body fat, and relevant potential confounders (children: n = 3,864 and 2,23 1; adolescents: n = 1,884 and 2,636 in NHANES III and NHANES 1999-2002, respectively)."

"Each child's daily dairy intake from 24-hour recalls was classified as low, moderate or high. For girls and boys, respectively: low intake: <1 and <2 servings; moderate intake: 1- <3 and 2- <4 servings; and high intake: >= 3 and >= 4 servings per day.) Analysis of covariance was used to control for potential confounding by age, gender, socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, height and television watching. Among children, there was no consistent association between dairy intake and anthropometric indices of body fat. Among adolescents, the lowest dairy intake group (< one serving per day for girls and < two per day for boys) had higher estimated levels of body fat than those in the highest dairy group. Compared with the lowest intake level, adolescent girls in NHANES III who consumed 1- <3 servings per day of dairy had about 2.5mm less subcutaneous body fat (95% CI: -4.70mm, -0.39mm) while girls consuming three or more servings had about 5mm less fat in their sum of two skinfolds. Adolescent boys consuming four or more servings of dairy per day had lower anthropometry levels than did those consuming less than two servings," wrote L.L. Moore and colleagues, Boston University.

The researchers concluded, "Among adolescents, suboptimal dairy intake was associated with higher anthropometric measures of body fat."

Moore and colleagues published their study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition ("Dairy Intake and Anthropometric Measures of Body Fat among Children and Adolescents in NHANES." Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2008;27(6):702-710).

For additional information, contact L.L. Moore, Boston University, School Medical, Prevention Med & Epidemiology Sect, Harrison Court, Room B04, Boston, MA 02118.

From the March 30, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition