Objective: To study associations between dairy fat intake and development of central obesity.
Design: A prospective population-based cohort study with two surveys 12 years apart.
Setting: Nine municipalities selected from different parts of Sweden representing the rural areas in the country.
Subjects: 1782 men (farmers and non-farmers) aged 40-60 years at baseline participated in a baseline survey (participation rate 76%) and 1589 men participated at the follow-up. 116 men with central obesity at baseline were excluded from the analyses.
Main outcome measures: Central obesity at follow-up defined as waist hip ratio ≥ 1.
Results: 197 men (15%) developed central obesity during follow-up. A low intake of dairy fat at baseline (no butter and low fat milk and seldom/never whipping cream) was associated with a higher risk of developing central obesity (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.05-2.24) and a high intake of dairy fat (butter as spread and high fat milk and whipping cream) was associated with a lower risk of central obesity (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.33-0.83) as compared with medium intake (all other combinations of spread, milk, and cream) after adjustment for intake of fruit and vegetables, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, age, education, and profession. The associations between dairy fat intake and central obesity were consistent across body mass index categories at baseline.
Conclusion: A high intake of dairy fat was associated with a lower risk of central obesity and a low dairy fat intake was associated with a higher risk of central obesity.