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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Sep;27(9):1106-13.

Dairy food consumption and body weight and fatness studied longitudinally over the adolescent period.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



Although research suggests that adolescents, particularly girls, may avoid dairy products due to concerns that these foods are 'fattening,' the longitudinal relation between consumption of dairy foods and relative weight status during adolescence has not been explored. Using data from the MIT Growth and Development Study, a longitudinal study designed to assess the metabolic, dietary, and behavioral factors that predict changes in body composition with growth and development in girls during the adolescent period, the current analysis was undertaken to examine the relation of dairy food intake with relative weight status and percentage body fat (%BF).


A total of 196 nonobese premenarcheal girls 8-12 y old were enrolled between 1990 and 1993. Girls were followed until 4 y postmenarche.


At each annual follow-up visit, data were collected on %BF by BIA, body mass index (BMI) z-score, and dietary intake (assessed by FFQ). The present analysis is limited to the 178 girls who have at least three annual visits and who have valid anthropometric and food frequency data. In all, 1198 individual measurements were analyzed.


At study entry, participants had a mean (s.d.) BMI z-score of -0.27 (0.89), a mean (s.d.) %BF of 23.4 (4.7), and obtained 19.9% (9.2) of daily calories from dairy foods. Linear mixed effects modeling indicated no relationship between BMI z-score or %BF and measures of dairy food or calcium consumption.


Avoidance of dairy foods due to a possible association with relative body weight is not supported by these findings. We find no evidence that dairy food consumption is associated with BMI z-score or %BF during adolescence, but further research specifically designed to address this question is needed.

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