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High dairy intake protects against diabetes, CVD in women

25 May 2019

Consumption of dairy products is beneficial to human health, with a recent study reporting that high intake levels are associated with reduced risks of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among women.

Researchers conducted a systematic review of population-based cohort studies reporting T2D/CVD (including stroke) incidents or mortality in relation to dairy intake. The studies had to include total dairy product data or total milk intake data. Those that had data only on low-/high-fat milk were not included.

The meta-analysis included 16 studies on T2D with 545,677 participants and an average follow-up of 10 years and 14 articles on CVD with 460,798 participants and an average follow-up of 14 years.

Pooled results revealed an inverse association between dairy intake and T2D risk (risk ratio [RR], 0.897; 95 percent CI, 0.834–0.963; p<0.01) and CVD risk (RR, 0.942; 0.892–0.994; p<0.05). There was a significant moderate heterogeneity observed across studies on T2D (I2, 51.03 percent; p=0.010) and CVD (I2, 48.79 percent; p=0.024).

Of note, subgroup analysis for sex showed that the protective effect of dairy intake was pronounced in women (RR for T2D, 0.868; 0.82–0.92; p<0.001; RR for CVD, 0.837; 0.75–0.93; p<0.001) but not in men.

According to researchers, the current findings support the recommendations for the public to consume dairy products. However, additional investigation is needed to establish data on sex differences and the positive effect of milk in women.

Future studies should focus on evaluating the effect of dairy products separately for men and women throughout their life span, researchers added.

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