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Dairy consumption and risk of falls in 2 European cohorts of older adults

Machado-Fragua MD1, Struijk EA1, Caballero FF1, Ortolá R1, Lana A2, Banegas JR1, Rodríguez-Artalejo F3, Lopez-Garcia E4.

Clin Nutr. 2020 Feb 5. pii: S0261-5614(20)30048-0. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2020.01.025. [Epub ahead of print]

Some previous evidence have linked dairy products with greater muscle mass, bone mineral density and lower risk of osteoporosis. However, there is also evidence of a detrimental effect of milk on the risk of hip fracture. The aim of this study was to assess the prospective association between dairy consumption and risk of falls in older adults.

We used data from 2 cohorts of community-dwellers aged ≥60y: the Seniors-ENRICA cohort with 2981 individuals, and the UK Biobank cohort with 8927 participants. In the Seniors-ENRICA, dairy consumption was assessed with a validated diet history in 2008-10, and falls were ascertained up to 2015. In the UK Biobank study, dairy consumption was obtained with 3-5 multiple-pass 24-h food records in 2006-10, and falls were assessed up to 2016.

A total of 801 individuals in the Seniors-ENRICA and 201 in the UK Biobank experienced ≥1 fall. After adjustment for potential confounders, dairy products were not associated with risk of falls in the Seniors-ENRICA [hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) per 1-serving increment in total dairy consumption: 1.02 (0.93-1.11), milk: 0.93 (0.85-1.01), yogurt: 1.05 (0.96-1.15), and cheese: 0.96 (0.88-1.05)]. Corresponding figures in the UK Biobank were: total dairy: 1.19 (1.00-1.41), milk: 1.53 (1.13-2.08), yogurt: 1.10 (0.90-1.31), and cheese: 1.02 (0.87-1.22).

These results suggest a null association between habitual dairy consumption and the risk of falling in older adults. Whether milk consumption may increase the risk of falls, as observed in the UK Biobank cohort, merits further study.