Association between yogurt, milk, and cheese consumption and common carotid artery intima-media thickness and cardiovascular disease risk factors in elderly women

Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul;94(1):234-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.014159. Epub 2011 May 25.


Background: Despite the contribution of dairy foods to total dietary saturated fat intake, available data indicate that dairy consumption may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the relation between consumption of milk, cheese, and yogurt and common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT) in a cohort of elderly women.

Design: Dairy consumption was assessed with a validated food-frequency questionnaire in 1080 participants randomly selected from ambulant white women aged >70 y living in Perth, Western Australia. CCA-IMT was assessed by using B-mode carotid ultrasound 3 y later. Cardiovascular disease risk factors, including serum lipids and blood pressure, were assessed at baseline.

Results: Total dairy product, milk, and cheese consumption was not associated with CCA-IMT (P > 0.05), whereas yogurt consumption was negatively associated with CCA-IMT (unadjusted standardized β = -0.081, P = 0.008; baseline risk factor-adjusted standardized β = -0.075, P = 0.015). Participants who consumed >100 g yogurt/d had a significantly lower CCA-IMT than did participants with lower consumption (unadjusted = -0.024 mm, P = 0.002). This relation remained significant after adjustment for baseline, dietary, and lifestyle risk factors (multivariable analysis = -0.023 mm, P = 0.003).

Conclusion: Increased consumption of yogurt, but not of other dairy products, is associated with a lower CCA-IMT, independent of other risk factors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / pathology*
  • Cheese
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Dairy Products*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Milk
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tunica Intima / pathology*
  • Tunica Media / pathology*
  • Yogurt


  • Cholesterol, HDL