School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Reduced fat dairy products are generally recommended for adults and children over the age of two years. However, emerging evidence suggests that dairy fat may not have detrimental health effects. We aimed to investigate prospective associations between consumption of regular versus reduced fat dairy products and cardiometabolic risk factors from early to late adolescence. In the West Australian Raine Study, dairy intake was assessed using semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires in 860 adolescents at 14 and 17-year follow-ups; 582 of these also had blood biochemistry at both points. Using generalized estimating equations, we examined associations with cardiometabolic risk factors. Models incorporated reduced fat and regular fat dairy together (in serves/day) and were adjusted for a range of factors including overall dietary pattern. In boys, there was a mean reduction in diastolic blood pressure of 0.66 mmHg (95% CI 0.23–1.09) per serve of reduced fat dairy and an independent, additional reduction of 0.47 mmHg (95% CI 0.04–0.90) per serve of regular fat dairy. Each additional serve of reduced fat dairy was associated with a 2% reduction in HDL-cholesterol (95% CI 0.97–0.995) and a 2% increase in total: HDL-cholesterol ratio (95% CI 1.002–1.03); these associations were not observed with regular fat products. In girls, there were no significant independent associations observed in fully adjusted models. Although regular fat dairy was associated with a slightly better cholesterol profile in boys, overall, intakes of both regular fat and reduced fat dairy products were associated with similar cardiometabolic associations in adolescents.
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