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Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 May;105(5):1166-1175. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.150359. Epub 2017 Apr 5.

Dairy intake in relation to breast and pubertal development in Chilean girls.

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Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
The University of California, Berkeley-University of California, San Francisco Graduate Program in Bioengineering, San Francisco, CA.
Division of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; and.
Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA


Background: Frequent dairy consumption in childhood has been related to higher growth-hormone concentrations that may affect mammary gland and pubertal development.Objective: We evaluated the relation of dairy intake to breast composition at Tanner stage 4 and age at menarche.Design: A total of 515 Chilean girls are included in the Growth and Obesity Cohort Study. The subjects have been followed longitudinally since they were 3-4 y old (from 2006 to the present). Starting in 2013, diet was assessed every 6 mo via a 24-h recall. The breast fibroglandular volume (FGV) was measured with the use of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at Tanner stage 4. The date of menarche was reported every 6 mo. Our analysis included 290 girls with data on prospective diet and breast composition and 324 girls with data on prospective diet and age at menarche.Results: The mean ± SD breast FGV and percentage of fibroglandular volume (%FGV) (i.e., FGV divided by total breast volume times 100) at Tanner stage 4 was 81.7 ± 32.2 cm3 and 42.0% ± 16.7%, respectively. Only sweetened, artificially flavored milk-based drinks were associated with the %FGV with girls who consumed >125 g/d having a %FGV that was 4.5% (95% CI: 0.9%, 8.1%) higher than that of girls who consumed none (P-trend = 0.007). Yogurt intake was associated with a lower FGV. Specifically, girls who consumed >125 g yogurt/d had -10.2 cm3 (95% CI: -20.2, -0.3 cm3) less FGV than did girls who consumed no yogurt (P-trend = 0.03). The majority (90.7%) of girls in our cohort attained menarche before the data analyses with a mean ± SD age at menarche of 11.9 ± 0.7 y. In multivariable models, low-fat dairy, low-fat milk, and yogurt intakes were associated with a later age at menarche. In particular, girls who consumed >125 g yogurt/d had menarche, on average, 4.6 mo (95% CI: 1.9, 7.4 mo) later than girls who consumed no yogurt (P-trend = 0.01).Conclusion: More-frequent consumption of sweetened, artificially-flavored milk-based drinks is associated with a higher %FGV, whereas higher yogurt intake is associated with a lower FGV and delayed age at menarche in Chilean girls.


age at menarche; breast composition; dairy; development; puberty

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