New Findings About Dairy Consumption and Body
April 10, 2007
New findings support emerging research
that increased intake of calcium and low-fat dairy products may lead to lower
abdominal fat tissueor adiposityat least in young adult white
males, according to research funded by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and cooperators.
Nicklas, a professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas, has worked with
collaborators at the Tulane School of
Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, La., on this study. The
research was published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American College of
Nicklas works at the Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston. CNRC is operated by BCM on
behalf of ARS and in cooperation with
Texas Children's Hospital.
Obesity is one of the most prevalent public health problems in the United
States, with nearly two-thirds of the adult populationroughly 97 million
Americans over the age of 20considered overweight or obese. This study
provided an opportunity for researchers to follow a well-defined biracial
(whites and blacks) population representative of the total community to further
investigate associations between calcium intake, dairy product consumption and
Participants included 1,306 young adults ranging from 19 to 38 years old
from Bogalusa, La., and surrounding areas. Of these, 31 percent of black males
were considered overweight, compared to 30 percent of white males, while 48
percent of black females were overweight, compared to 29 percent of white
Two measures were used to determine who was obese. The first was the body
mass index, a measure that correlates height with body fat. The second was
waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), which shows how fat is distributed around the torso.
A 0.7 WHR for women and 0.9 for men have been shown to correlate strongly
with good general health. Women within the 0.7 WHR range are less susceptible
to major diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and ovarian
cancers. Men with WHRs around 0.9 have also been shown to be healthier, with
less prostate or testicular cancer.
No significant association was found between dairy product consumption,
calcium intake and overweight, as defined by body mass index or waist
circumference. But white males in the study who ate more calcium and low-fat
dairy products benefitted by having a reduction in their WHR.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.