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Higher milk fat content is associated with higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration in early childhood

Vanderhout, Shelley M., Birken, Catherine S., Parkin, Patricia C., Lebovic, Gerald, Chen, Yang, O’Connor, Deborah L., Maguire, Jonathon L.
Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 2016 v.41 no.5 pp. 516-521
blood serum, childhood, children, confidence interval, cross-sectional studies, guidelines, homogenized milk, lipid content, metabolism, milk, milk consumption, milk fat, obesity, regression analysis, risk reduction, vitamin D, North America
Current guidelines for cow’s milk consumption in children older than age 2 years suggest 1% or 2% milk to reduce the risk of obesity. Given that milk is the main dietary source of vitamin D for North American children and that vitamin D is fat soluble, we hypothesized 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration to be positively associated with the fat content of milk. The objective was to determine the relationship between the fat content of milk consumed and the serum 25(OH)D concentration; our secondary objective was to explore the role that the volume of milk consumed played in this relationship. We completed a cross-sectional study of children aged 12–72 months in the TARGetKids! research network. Multivariable linear regression was used to test the association between milk fat content and child 25(OH)D, adjusted for clinically relevant covariates. The interaction between volume of milk and fat content was examined. Two thousand eight hundred fifty-seven children were included in the analysis. The fat content of milk was positively associated with 25(OH)D (p = 0.03), and the interaction between the volume of milk consumed and the milk fat content was statistically significant (p = 0.005). Children who drank 1% milk needed 2.46 cups (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.38–2.54) of milk to have a 25(OH)D concentration similar to that of children who drank 1 cup of homogenized milk (3.25% fat). Children who consumed 1% milk had 2.05 (95% CI 1.73–2.42) times higher odds of having a 25(OH)D concentration <50 nmol/L compared with children who consumed homogenized milk. In conclusion, recommendations for children to drink lower-fat milk (1% or 2%) may compromise serum 25(OH)D levels and may require study to ensure optimal childhood health.