Association between milk and milk product consumption and anthropometric measures in adult men and women in India: a cross-sectional study.

Research paper by Ambika A Satija, Sutapa S Agrawal, Liza L Bowen, Neha N Khandpur, Sanjay S Kinra, Dorairaj D Prabhakaran, Kolli Srinath KS Reddy, George Davey GD Smith, Shah S Ebrahim

Indexed on: 18 Apr '13Published on: 18 Apr '13Published in: PloS one


The nutritional aetiology of obesity remains unclear, especially with regard to the role of dairy products in developing countries.To examine whether milk/milk product consumption is associated with obesity and high waist circumference among adult Indians.Information on plain milk, tea, curd and buttermilk/lassi consumption assessed using a Food Frequency Questionnaire was obtained from the cross-sectional sib-pair designed Indian Migration Study (3698 men and 2659 women), conducted at four factory locations across north, central and south India. The anthropometric measures included were Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference (WC). Mixed-effect logistic regression models were conducted to accommodate sib-pair design and adjust for potential confounders.After controlling for potential confounders, the risk of being obese (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m(2)) was lower among women (OR = 0.57;95%CI:0.43-0.76;p ≤ 0.0001) and men (OR = 0.67;95%CI: 0.51-0.87;p = 0.005), and the risk of a high WC (men: >90 cm; women: >80 cm) was lower among men (OR = 0.71;95%CI:0.54-0.93;p = 0.005) and women (OR = 0.79;95%CI:0.59-1.05;p>0.05) who consume ≥1 portions of plain milk daily than those who do not consume any milk. The inverse association between daily plain milk consumption and obesity was also confirmed in sibling-pair analyses. Daily tea consumption of ≥ 1 portion was associated with obesity (OR = 1.51;95%CI:1.00-2.25;p>0.050) and high WC (OR = 1.65;95%CI:1.08-2.51;p>0.019) among men but not among women but there was no strong evidence of association of curd and buttermilk/lassi consumption with obesity and high waist circumference among both men and women.The independent, inverse association of daily plain milk consumption with the risk of being obese suggests that high plain milk intake may lower the risk of obesity in adult Indians. However, this is an observational finding and uncontrolled confounding cannot be excluded as an explanation for the association. Therefore, confirmatory studies are needed to clarify this relationship.