The prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic proportions with more than 600 million adults worldwide classified as clinically obese (body mass index (BMI) ⩾ 30 kg/m2)(1). Among the various approaches to tackle obesity and its comorbidities, a heathy diet is one of the key determinants for reducing obesity(2). Given that dairy products are naturally rich in protein and essential micronutrients, including calcium, potassium and vitamin A(3), they are recommended as an integral part of a healthy diet by many countries(4). However, dairy is also a major contributor to saturated fatty acids (SFA) and energy intake(5), thus their role in development of obesity has been questioned and explored by several studies(6). We investigated the association between total dairy, milk, cheese, cream and butter consumption and BMI change over a 20-year follow-up using the Caerphilly prospective study (CAPS).
The CAPS included 2512 men aged 45–59 years, who were followed up at 5-year intervals for over 20-years. The associations of total dairy, milk, cheese, cream and butter consumption with BMI were examined cross-sectionally at baseline and longitudinally at 5, 10, 15 and 20-years follow-ups. General linear regression and logistic regression were used for data analysis.
Men free of cardiovascular disease and diabetes (n = 1704) were included in the current analysis. Higher cheese consumption was associated with lower BMI at the 5-year follow-up (P = 0·008) but not at later follow-ups. There was no evidence that higher consumption of dairy products was associated with increased BMI during the over 20-years follow-up, although total dairy (P = 0·002) and milk consumption (P < 0·001) were inversely associated with BMI at baseline. For the future studies, the association between cheese consumption and BMI requires further investigation.
a Model 1: Multivariable-adjusted model adjusted for age, social class (manual and non-manual workers), alcohol intake (non-drinker, drinker has been divided into 3 equal groups), smokers (non-smoker, current smoker, previous smoker), leisure activity (yes and no), food energy intake, and BMI at baseline.
b Model 2: Model 1 and additionally adjusted for protein intake, fat intake, fibre intake (vegetable fibre and cereal fibre).