A Positive Association Between Dietary Intake of Higher Cow's Milk-Fat Percentage and Non−High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Young Children
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OBJECTIVES: To determine the association between cow's milk-fat and non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol, a marker of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in young children, and whether this association is mediated by the typical volume of cow's milk consumed. STUDY DESIGN: A longitudinal study in 2- to 8-year-old children (n = 2890) was conducted through The Applied Research Group for Kids (TARGet Kids!), a practice-based research network in Toronto, Canada. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine the relationship between parent-reported cow's milk-fat percentage intake and serum non-HDL cholesterol concentrations as well as having high non-HDL cholesterol (≥3.75 mmol/L [145 mg/dL]), adjusting for covariates including age, sex, body mass index z score, breastfeeding duration, mother's ethnicity, and parental history of CVD. Bootstrap resampling (10 000 repetitions) was used to assess whether typical volume consumed mediated the association between cow's milk-fat percentage and non-HDL cholesterol. RESULTS: In total, 156 (5.4%) had high non-HDL cholesterol. Each percent increase in cow's milk-fat was associated with a 0.035 mmol/L (1.35 mg/dL) (P < .001) and 0.024 mmol/L (0.92 mg/dL) (P = .01) increase in non-HDL cholesterol, unadjusted and adjusted for covariates respectively. Cow's milk-fat percentage was not associated with greater odds of having high non-HDL cholesterol. Volume of cow's milk partially mediated the association between cow's milk-fat percentage and non-HDL cholesterol, accounting for 28% of the relationship (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of higher-fat cow's milk was associated with a small increase in non-HDL cholesterol but not greater odds of having high non-HDL cholesterol. Further research is needed to assess this relationship with other CVD risk factors in young children. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01869530.
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