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Milk intakes are not associated with percent body fat in children from ages 10 to 13 years.

  • Noel, Sabrina E1
  • Ness, Andrew R
  • Northstone, Kate
  • Emmett, Pauline
  • Newby, P K
  • 1 Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
Published Article
Journal of Nutrition
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
November 2011
DOI: 10.3945/jn.111.143420
PMID: 21940511


Epidemiologic studies report conflicting results for the relationship between milk intake and adiposity in children. We examined prospective and cross-sectional associations between milk intake and percent body fat among 2245 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Cross-sectional analyses were performed at age 13 y between total, full-fat, and reduced-fat milk intake assessed using 3-d dietary records and body fat from DXA. Prospective analyses were conducted between milk intakes at age 10 y and body fat at 11 and 13 y. Models were adjusted for age, sex, height, physical activity, pubertal status, maternal BMI, maternal education, and intakes of total fat, sugar-sweetened beverages, 100% fruit juice, and ready-to-eat cereals; baseline BMI was added to prospective models. Subset analyses were performed for those with plausible dietary intakes. Mean milk consumption at 10 and 13 y was (mean ± SD) 0.90 ± 0.73 and 0.85 ± 0.78 servings/d [1 serving = 8 oz of milk (244 g of plain and 250 g flavored milk)], respectively. Cross-sectional results indicated an inverse association between full-fat milk intake and body fat [β = -0.47 (95% CI = -0.76, -0.19); P = 0.001]. Milk intake at age 10 y was inversely associated with body fat at 11 y [β = -0.16 g/d (95%CI = -0.28, -0.04); P = 0.01], but not among those with plausible dietary intakes, suggesting that this association was influenced by dietary measurement errors. Milk intake was not associated with body fat at age 13 y after adjustment. Although our prospective results corroborate other findings of a null associations between milk intake and adiposity, our inconsistent findings across analyses suggest further investigation is needed to clarify the relation, and accounting for dietary reporting errors is an important consideration.

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