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Nutrients. 2020 Feb 28;12(3). pii: E642. doi: 10.3390/nu12030642.

Dairy Consumption at Snack Meal Occasions and the Overall Quality of Diet during Childhood. Prospective and Cross-Sectional Analyses from the IDEFICS/I.Family Cohort.

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Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development (GENUD) Research Group, University of Zaragoza, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain.
Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), 50013 Zaragoza, Spain.
Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Aragón (IIS Aragón), 50009 Zaragoza, Spain.
Red de Salud Materno-infantil y del Desarrollo (SAMID), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain.
Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology-BIPS, 28359 Bremen, Germany.
Institute of Statistics, Bremen University, 28359 Bremen, Germany.
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERObn), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 28029 Madrid, Spain.
Epidemiology and Prevention Unit, Department of Preventive & Predictive Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, 20133 Milan, Italy.
Epidemology & Population Genetics, Institute of Food Sciences, National Research Council, 83100 Avellino, Italy.
Department of Chronic Diseases, National Institute for Health Development, 11619 Tallinn, Estonia.
Research and Education Institute of Child Health, 2018 Strovolos, Cyprus.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Pécs, 7622 Pécs, Hungary.
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Biomedicine and Public Health, School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, 541 28 Skövde, Sweden.
Department of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy.
Department of Public Health, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.


There is scarce information on the influence of dairy consumption between main meals on the overall diet quality through childhood, constituting the main aim of this research. From the Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle induced health EFfects In Children and infantS (IDEFICS) study, and based on the data availability in each period due to drop outs, 8807 children aged 2 to 9.9 years from eight European countries at baseline (T0: 2007-2008); 5085 children after two years (T1); and 1991 after four years (T3), were included in these analyses. Dietary intake and the Diet Quality Index (DQI) were assessed by two 24 hours dietary recalls (24-HDR) and food frequency questionnaire. Consumption of milk and yogurt (p = 0.04) and cheese (p < 0.001) at snack meal occasions was associated with higher DQI scores in T0; milk and yogurt (p < 0.001), and cheese (p < 0.001) in T1; and cheese (p = 0.05) in T3. Consumers of milk (p = 0.02), yogurt (p < 0.001), or cheese (p < 0.001) throughout T0 and T1 at all snack moments had significantly higher scores of DQI compared to non-consumers. This was also observed with the consumption of cheese between T1 and T3 (p = 0.03). Consumption of dairy products at snack moments through childhood is associated with a better overall diet quality, being a good strategy to improve it in this period.


children; dairy; diet quality; snack

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