Dairy products are a good source of a number of important nutrients in the British diet such as energy, protein and other macro- and micronutrients. However, dairy fats are high in saturated fat, and it is estimated that dairy products (excluding butter) contribute 31% and 22% of saturated fat in the diets of British children aged 4–10 and 11–18 years, respectively. High intakes of saturated fat have been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), thus the majority of recommendations to reduce risk of CHD have focused on the reduction of saturated fat in the diet. In contrast, consumption of dairy products is not associated with an increased risk of CVD , and evidence suggests dairy product consumption is associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.
Yogurt consumption has been associated with higher nutrient intakes, better diet quality and improved metabolic profiles in adults. Few studies have investigated these associations in children. This study investigated the association of yogurt consumption with nutrient intakes, diet quality and metabolic profile in British children. The highest tertile of yogurt consumption (T3) was associated with higher nutrient intakes, particularly for calcium, iodine and riboflavin and HEI-2010 score in children aged 4–10 years and 11–18 years compared with non-consumers (0 g yogurt/d). Yogurt consumption was associated with significantly lower pulse pressure in children aged 4–10 years and lower HbA1c concentration, being shorter and having a larger hip circumference in children aged 11–18 years, compared with non-yogurt consumers.
Outcomes and Impact
This study found that dietary patterns that included yogurt were associated with higher intakes of certain beneficial nutrient and overall better diet quality in children (4–18 years). Furthermore, dietary patterns that included yogurt were associated with lower pulse pressure and HbA1c concentrations in children aged 4–10 and 11–18 years, respectively, although no association was found between other metabolic outcomes measured.
In summary, including yogurt as part of children’s diets may be a strategy for increasing intakes of certain nutrients particularly calcium, magnesium, iodine and riboflavin, although this would need confirmation in further studies.
Key university staff
Professor Ian Givens – Professor of Food Chain Nutrition, Director, Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH), University of Reading
Professor Julie Lovegrove – Professor of Metabolic Nutrition, Head of the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, University of Reading
Dr Ditte Hobbs – Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Reading
Hobbs, D. A., Givens, D. I. and Lovegrove, J. A. (2018) Yogurt consumption is associated with higher nutrient intake, diet quality and favourable metabolic profile in children: a cross-sectional analysis using data from years 1–4 of the National diet and Nutrition Survey, UK. European Journal of Nutrition. ISSN 1436-6215