We examined whether consumption of total dairy and dairy subgroups was related to incident stroke and coronary heart disease (CHD) in a general older Dutch population.
The study involved 4,235 participants of the Rotterdam Study aged 55 and over who were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes at baseline (1990-1993). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) for the intake of total dairy and dairy subgroups in relation to incident CVD events.
Median intake of total dairy was 397 g/day, which mainly comprised low-fat dairy products (median intake of 247 g/day). During a median follow-up time of 17.3 years, 564 strokes (182 fatal) and 567 CHD events (350 fatal) occurred. Total dairy, milk, low-fat dairy, and fermented dairy were not significantly related to incident stroke or fatal stroke (p > 0.2 for upper vs. lower intake categories). High-fat dairy was significantly inversely related to fatal stroke (HR of 0.88 per 100 g/day; 95% CI 0.79, 0.99), but not to incident stroke (HR of 0.96 per 100 g/day; 95% CI 0.90, 1.02). Total dairy or dairy subgroups were not significantly related to incident CHD or fatal CHD (HRs between 0.98 and 1.05 per 100 g/day, all p > 0.35).
In this long-term follow-up study of older Dutch subjects, total dairy consumption or the intake of specific dairy products was not related to the occurrence of CVD events. The observed inverse association between high-fat dairy and fatal stroke warrants confirmation in other studies.