FRIDAY, Jan. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Consumption of whole-fat milk is associated with reduced odds of overweight or obesity among children, according to a review published online Dec. 18 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Shelley M. Vanderhout, from the University of Toronto, and colleagues examined the correlation between cow-milk fat consumption and adiposity in children. Data were included from observational and interventional studies of healthy children aged 1 to 18 years; a meta-analysis was conducted using random effects to assess the association between cow-milk fat and the risk for overweight or obesity. Data were included for 28 reports: 20 cross-sectional and eight prospective cohort.

The researchers found that higher cow-milk fat consumption correlated with lower child adiposity in 18 studies, while no association was identified in 10 studies. In a meta-analysis of 14 of the studies, with 20,897 participants, children who consumed whole milk (3.25 percent fat) versus reduced-fat milk (0.1 to 2 percent fat) had an odds ratio of 0.60 for overweight or obesity; however, the heterogeneity between studies was high ( = 73.8 percent).

“Clinical trial data and well-designed prospective cohort studies involving large, diverse samples, using standardized exposure and outcome measurements, and with long study duration would help determine whether the observed association between higher milk fat consumption and lower childhood adiposity is causal,” the authors write.

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