Effects of Milk and Dairy Products on the Prevention of Osteoporosis and Osteoporotic Fractures in Europeans and Non-Hispanic Whites from North America: A Systematic Review and Updated Meta-Analysis

Adv Nutr. 2019 May 1;10(suppl_2):S120-S143. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmy097.


Nutrition plays an important role in bone health. The aim of our study was to update the evidence regarding dairy intake, osteoporotic fracture (OF) risk, and prospective bone mass density (BMD) evolution assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in Europeans and non-Hispanic whites from North America. A systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Scopus for papers published from 1 January, 2000 to 30 April, 2018. The eligibility criteria were as follows: healthy adults; measurable dairy exposure; hip, vertebral, wrist or OF as outcomes; and cohort or case-control studies. Two independent investigators conducted the search and the data extraction. A pooled analysis was conducted with random-effects models. Publication bias and meta-regression were considered. Ten cohort studies relating to OF risk were selected for meta-analysis. Three papers reporting BMD changes associated with dairy intake could not be aggregated in the meta-analysis. The pooled HRs of the highest compared with the lowest levels of dairy intake were 0.95 (95% CI: 0.87, 1.03; I2 = 82.9%; P-heterogeneity < 0.001) for OF at any site; 0.87 (95% CI: 0.75, 1.01; I2 = 86.7%; P-heterogeneity < 0.001) for hip fractures; and 0.82 (95% CI: 0.68, 0.99; I2 = 0.0%; P-heterogeneity = 0.512) for vertebral fractures. Concerning BMD, the selected studies described a 1.7-3% lower hip BMD in young and postmenopausal women with poor intake of milk in their youth, a positive relationship between baseline milk ingestion and the percentage of trochanter BMD change in elderly people, and a positive correlation between milk consumption and BMD change at the radius in women aged >65 y. In conclusion, in the studied population, the highest consumption of dairy products did not show a clear association with the total OF or hip fracture risks; however, a diminished risk of vertebral fracture could be described. The results regarding BMD change were heterogeneous and did not allow for a definitive conclusion.

Keywords: Colles’ fracture; bone mass density; cheese; dairy products; fermented milk; hip fracture; milk; osteoporotic fractures; vertebral fracture; yogurt.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones* / injuries
  • Bone and Bones* / metabolism
  • Dairy Products*
  • Diet*
  • Europe
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control*
  • Hip Fractures / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk
  • North America
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / prevention & control
  • Spinal Fractures / prevention & control
  • White People*
  • Young Adult