Associations of Calcium and Dairy Products with All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Prospective Cohort Study

Nutr Cancer. 2017 Nov-Dec;69(8):1185-1195. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2017.1367946. Epub 2017 Nov 10.


Associations of calcium and dairy product intakes with cardiovascular disease risk and cancer mortality are controversial. We investigated associations of calcium and dairy product intakes with mortality in the prospective REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study (n = 30,239). Of 2,966 total deaths, 32.3% were from CVD and 28.8% from cancer. For those in the upper relative to the lowest quintile of intakes, from Cox proportional hazards regression models, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause mortality were 1.13 (95% confidence intervals [CI] 0.95-1.35; P-trend 0.004) for whole milk, and 0.75 (CI 0.61-0.93; P-trend 0.001) for nonfat milk; for CVD mortality the corresponding HRs were 0.80 (CI 0.55-1.16; P-trend 0.80) and 0.72 (CI 0.49-1.05; P-trend 0.06); and for cancer mortality they were 1.56 (CI 1.17-2.08; P-trend 0.006) and 0.89 (CI 0.62-1.28; P-trend 0.86). Calcium (total, dietary, supplemental) and total dairy product intakes were not associated with all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality. These results suggest that whole milk consumption may be directly associated with cancer mortality; non-fat milk consumption may be inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular- and cancer-specific mortality; and calcium intake independent of milk product intakes may not be associated with mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Dairy Products*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Fats