South Asians, who are at a disproportionately greater risk of atherosclerotic CVD (ASCVD), represent a rapidly growing population in the USA. The relationship between dairy products, a major component of South Asian diets, and body composition – an established risk factor for ASCVD, is unclear. The aim of the present study was to examine associations between dairy intake and multiple measures of body composition (BMI, waist and hip circumference, waist:hip ratio, abdominal lean mass, subcutaneous, visceral, and intermuscular fat areas) among South Asian adults in the USA. A baseline analysis was conducted using existing data from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America cohort. In women, the highest (>1·9 servings/d) v. lowest (<1 serving/d) tertile of dairy intake was associated with 53 % lower odds of a waist circumference >80 cm (95 % CI 0·25, 0·89, P
for trend<0·05). No associations were observed between dairy intake and measures of body composition. However, >3 servings of low-fat yogurt/week was associated with a 9·9 cm2 lower visceral fat area (95 % CI –19·07, –0·72, P<0·05) and 2·3 cm2 lower intermuscular fat area (95 % CI –3·76, –0·79, P<0·05) as compared with those with three servings/week. Milk and cheese were not associated with body composition measures. These analyses suggest that higher consumption of low-fat yogurt is associated with lower visceral and intermuscular fat in the whole sample, and women with higher dairy intake have lower waist circumference. Our study supports dietary incorporation of dairy products, and recognises the utility of multidimensional measures of central adiposity.