Dairy products, surrogate markers, and cardiovascular disease; a sex-specific analysis from the ATTICA prospective study

The ATTICA Study Investigators

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims: Dairy products are a very diverse food group with multiple effects on the cardiac health of men and women. The aim of this work was to evaluate the sex-specific association between dairy products (total and subtypes) and 10-year first fatal/nonfatal cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence. Methods and results: In 2001–2002, n = 1514 men and n = 1528 women (>18 years old) from greater Athens area, Greece, were enrolled. Dietary assessment was based on a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Dairy product consumption was examined in relation to 10-year CVD incidence. Follow-up (2011–2012) was achieved in n = 2020 participants (n = 317 CVD cases). Ranking from lowest (<1 serving/day) to highest (>2 servings/day) total dairy intake, CVD incidence in men was 17.8%, 15.0%, and 10.9% (p = 0.41), while in women it was 14%, 6.0%, and 5.7% (p = 0.02). Multiadjusted analysis revealed that total dairy intake protected against CVD only in women [Hazard Ratio (HR) = 0.48 and 95% Confidence Interval (95% CI) (0.23, 0.90)], irrespective of the fat content. Further analysis revealed that only fermented products (yogurt and cheese), protected against CVD. For per 200 g/day yogurt consumption, CVD risk was 20%–30% lower with this claim being more evident in women, while for per 30 g/day cheese intake, about 5% lower risk was observed particularly in men. As for butter, nonsignificant associations were highlighted. These associations were mainly retained in the case of hepatic steatosis, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation. Conclusions: This work provides incentives for researchers to elucidate the diversity of ingredients and mechanisms through which dairy products exert their effect on cardiac health separately for men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2194-2206
Number of pages13
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2020


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