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.