Girls' Dairy Intake, Energy Intake, and Weight Status

Laura M. Fiorito, Alison K. Ventura, Diane C. Mitchell, Helen Smiciklas-Wright, Leann L. Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We explored the relationships among girls' weight status, dairy servings, and total energy intake. The hypothesis that consuming dairy could reduce risk for overweight was evaluated by comparing energy intake and weight status of girls who met or consumed less than the recommended three servings of dairy per day. Participants included 172 11-year-old non-Hispanic white girls, assessed cross-sectionally. Intakes of dairy, calcium, and energy were measured using three 24-hour recalls. Body mass index and body fat measures from dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry were obtained. Because preliminary analyses suggested systematic underreporting of energy intake, the relationships among dairy servings and measures of weight status were examined for the total sample and for subsamples of under-, plausible, and overreporters. Data for the total sample provided support for the hypothesized relationship among weight status, dairy servings, and energy intake. Thirty-nine percent of girls reported consuming the recommended ≥3 servings of dairy per day; these girls also reported higher energy intake but had lower body mass index z scores and body fat than the girls who consumed fewer than three dairy servings each day. Among plausible reporters, no relationship between dairy intake and weight status was noted. This discrepancy may be attributable to a high percentage (45%) of overweight underreporters in the total sample. Our findings reveal that reporting bias, resulting from the presence of a substantial proportion of underreporters of higher weight status, can contribute to obtaining spurious associations between dairy intake and weight status. These findings underscore the need for randomly controlled trials to assess the role of dairy in weight management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1851-1855
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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