Low-Fat Dairy Intake and Body Weight and Composition Changes in College Students

Kavita H. Poddar, Kathy W. Hosig, Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, Eileen S. Anderson, William G. Herbert, Susan E. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dairy calcium may help prevent excess weight gain and obesity when consumed in adequate amounts (three or more servings per day) and combined with energy balance. This prospective cohort study was conducted to evaluate dairy intake and examine the association between low-fat dairy intake and body weight and composition changes in college students. Seventy-six college students (65 women and 11 men; mean age±standard error [SE]=19.2±0.2 years) completed 7-day food records, body height (cm), weight (kg), and waist circumference (cm) measurements twice (September 2004 and April 2005). Percentage of truncal fat and percentage of total body fat were measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. One-way multivariate analysis of covariance was conducted. Overall (mean±SE) total dairy (1.4±0.1 servings/day), low-fat dairy (0.5±0.1 servings/day), and calcium (815±41 mg/day) intakes were low. Subjects who consumed a higher amount of low-fat dairy products (mean±SE=0.8±0.1 servings/day) had better diet quality, gained less body weight, and had reductions in waist circumference, percentage truncal fat, and percentage total body fat compared to those with lower intake (mean±SE=0.1±0.0 servings/day). Low-fat dairy intake may be associated with better diet quality and weight management in college students. Nutrition interventions in young adults should promote low-fat dairy intake as part of an overall healthful lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1433-1438
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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