The association between dairy intake in adolescents on inflammation and risk markers of type 2 diabetes during young adulthood: results of the DONALD study

Public Health Nutr. 2024 Mar 13;27(1):e91. doi: 10.1017/S1368980024000624.


Objective: The aim of this analysis was to investigate whether habitual intake of total dairy (TD) or different dairy types (liquid, solid, fermented, non-fermented, low-fat, high-fat, low-sugar and high-sugar dairy) during adolescence is associated with biomarkers of low-grade inflammation as well as risk factors of type 2 diabetes in young adulthood.

Design: Multivariable linear regression analyses were used to investigate prospective associations between estimated TD intake as well as intake of different types of dairy and a pro-inflammatory score, based on high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, IL-6, IL-18, leptin and adiponectin, and insulin resistance assessed as Homeostasis Model Assessment Insulin Resistance in an open-cohort study.

Setting: Dortmund, Germany.

Participants: Data from participants (n 375) of the DOrtmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed (DONALD) study were included, for whom at least two 3-d weighed dietary records during adolescence (median age: 11 years) and one blood sample in young adulthood (>18 years) were available.

Results: There was no statistically significant association between TD intake or intake of any dairy type and the pro-inflammatory score (all P > 0·05). TD intake as well as each dairy type intake and insulin resistance also showed no association (all P > 0·05).

Conclusions: The habitual intake of dairy or individual types of dairy during adolescence does not seem to have a major impact on low-grade systemic inflammation and insulin resistance in the long term. There was no indication regarding a restriction of dairy intake for healthy children and adolescents in terms of diabetes risk reduction.

Keywords: Adolescents; Children; Dairy; Inflammation; Insulin resistance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dairy Products
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Sugars
  • Young Adult


  • Sugars