Diet and lifestyle are important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure (BP). The role of dairy in the prevention of hypertension, however, is not yet clear. We studied the relation of dairy intake with BP in 21,553 Dutch participants aged 20-65 y who did not use antihypertensive medication. In addition, the risk of hypertension was examined in 3454 of these participants with a 5-y follow-up. Dairy consumption was assessed at baseline (1993-1997) using a semiquantitative FFQ that included 178 foods and beverages. Baseline BP and odds ratios (OR) (95% CI) for incident hypertension were calculated in categories of energy-adjusted dairy intake with adjustment for age, sex, socioeconomic status, BMI, smoking, alcohol use, and dietary intakes. Participants had a median intake of 344 g/d (approximately 2.3 servings) for total dairy and 174 g/d (approximately 1.2 servings) for low-fat dairy. Mean BP was 120/76 mm Hg. Intake of total dairy, specific dairy groups (i.e. low-fat, high-fat, fermented) and dairy products (i.e. cheese, yogurt) were not consistently related to BP. Of 3454 participants who were followed, 713 developed hypertension. The risk of hypertension tended to be inversely related to low-fat dairy intake, with multivariate OR (95% CI) of 1.00, 0.78 (0.61, 1.00), 0.81 (0.63, 1.03), and 0.82 (0.64, 1.06; P-trend: 0.24) in consecutive quartiles. We conclude that variations in BP in a general middle-aged Dutch population cannot be explained by overall dairy intake. A beneficial effect of low-fat dairy on risk of hypertension, however, cannot be excluded, which warrants further investigation in prospective population-based studies.
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