The association between cheese consumption and risk for major health endpoints has been investigated in many epidemiologic studies, but findings are inconsistent. As all-cause mortality can be viewed as the final net health effect of dietary intakes, we conducted a meta-analysis to examine the long-term association of cheese consumption with all-cause mortality. Relevant studies were identified by a search of the PubMed database through May 2016. Reference lists from retrieved articles were also reviewed. Summary relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using a random-effects model. Pre-specified stratified and dose-response analyses were also performed. The final analysis included nine prospective cohort studies involving 21,365 deaths. The summary RR of all-cause mortality for the highest compared with the lowest cheese consumption was 1.02 (95% CI: 0.97, 1.06), and little evidence of heterogeneity was observed. The association between cheese consumption and risk of all-cause mortality did not significantly differ by study location, sex, age, number of events, study quality score or baseline diseases excluded. There was no dose-response relationship between cheese consumption and risk of all-cause mortality (RR per 43 g/day = 1.03, 95% CI: 0.99-1.07). No significant publication bias was observed. Our findings suggest that long-term cheese consumption was not associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality.
Keywords: cheese; dairy; fermented food; meta-analysis; mortality.