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Dairy product consumption and type 2 diabetes among Korean adults: a prospective cohort study based on the Health Examinees (HEXA) study
Jiaqi Zhang, Kyungjoon Lim, Sangah Shin
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022019.   Published online February 4, 2022
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  • 6 Web of Science
  • 7 Crossref
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
It has been suggested that the consumption of dairy products helps lower the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We investigated the association between the consumption of dairy products and T2D events in middle-aged Korean adults.
We followed up 53,288 participants (16,895 male and 36,393 female) in the Health Examinees (HEXA) study. The consumption of dairy products was assessed using the self-administered food frequency questionnaire, and T2D was defined according to the 2015 treatment guidelines of the Korean Diabetes Association. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) between the consumption of dairy products and the risk of T2D were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models after adjusting for potential confounders. Spline regression was used to better represent the association between the consumption of dairy products and the risk of T2D.
Among male, those with higher consumption of dairy products had a significantly lower risk of T2D than those who consumed essentially no dairy products (HR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.91). In particular, consumption of yogurt (HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.93; p<sub>trend</sub>=0.035) and cheese (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.89; p<sub>trend</sub>=0.005) was negatively associated with the incidence of T2D in male. In female, daily consumption of 1 serving of yogurt decreased the risk of T2D by 11%.
The association between the consumption of dairy products and the risk of T2D differed by sex and dairy product type. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm these associations.
Korean summary
본 연구는 한국인유전체역학조사사업의 도시코호트 기반조사와 추적조사에 참여한 40-69세 한국 성인 53 288명의 유제품 섭취와 제2형 당뇨병 발생 위험도를 분석하였다. 요거트와 치즈를 포함한 유제품 섭취가 많을수록 남성의 제2형 당뇨병 위험도가 낮아졌다. 요거트 섭취량을 하루에 한번 증가하면 여성의 제2형 당뇨병 위험도가 감소하다. 유제품 소비와 제2형 당뇨병의 위험도의 연관성은 성별과 유제품에 따라 다르다. 이를 확인하기 위해서는 추가 연구가 필요하다.
Key Message
The study aimed to assess the association between the consumption of dairy products and type 2 diabetes events in Korean adults. Data was from the Health Examinees Study among 53 288 participants. Higher consumption of dairy products including yogurt and cheese was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in men. Increasing yogurt intake by one serving/day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. The association between the consumption of dairy products and the risk of type 2 diabetes differed by gender and dairy product type. Further studies are needed to confirm this.


Citations to this article as recorded by  
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  • Association between dairy consumption and the risk of diabetes: A prospective cohort study from the China Health and Nutrition Survey
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  • Association of dairy consumption patterns with the incidence of type 2 diabetes: Findings from Alberta's Tomorrow Project
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Food, Nutrient, and the Risk of Breast Cancer.
Myung Hee Shin
Korean J Epidemiol. 2002;24(2):164-170.
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  • 15 Download
AbstractAbstract PDF
Nutrients are the primary dietary component that are of interest in studying the diet-disease relationships because they give us more direct biological mechanisms. However, exploring the associations of the foods or food groups with disease occurrence could also give us an important information in the causal relationships between diet and diseases. When there are no specific nutrient that was shown to be related to a disease, a relationship between a certain food and the disease could provide a new hypothesis for the responsible components. If an association exists with both the overall intake of a nutrient and more than one food source of that nutrient, it is more likely that the association is causal. On the other hand, foods with similar nutrient components could have different effects on our body due to a complex interaction between the nutrients within the food. Epidemiologists should employ both approach (nutrient and food) in order to have an unbiased assessment for the association between diet and diseases. We will take an example of a cohort study which looked at the association between dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D and the risk of breast cancer.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health