Original Contribution

European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 543-550

The associations between yogurt consumption, diet quality, and metabolic profiles in children in the USA

  • Yong ZhuAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology, The University of Iowa
  • , Huifen WangAffiliated withNutritional Epidemiology Program, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University
  • , James H. HollisAffiliated withDepartment of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University
  • , Paul F. JacquesAffiliated withNutritional Epidemiology Program, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University Email author 

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Recent studies have shown that yogurt consumption was associated with better diet quality and a healthier metabolic profile in adults. However, such associations have not been investigated in children. The present study examined the associations in children using data from a nationally representative survey.


Data from 5,124 children aged 2–18 years, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2003 and 2006 in the USA were analyzed. The frequency of yogurt consumption over 12 months was determined using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Diet quality was assessed by the Healthy Eating Index 2005 (HEI-2005) using one 24-HR dietary recall, and metabolic profiles were obtained from the NHANES laboratory data.


It was found that only 33.1 % of children consumed yogurt at least once per week (frequent consumers). Adjusting for covariates, frequent consumers had better diet quality than infrequent consumers, as indicated by a higher HEI-2005 total score (P = 0.04). Frequent yogurt consumption was associated with a lower fasting insulin level (P < 0.001), a lower homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (P < 0.001), and a higher quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (P = 0.03). However, yogurt consumption was not associated with body weight, fasting glucose, serum lipid profiles, C-reactive protein, and blood pressures (all P > 0.05).


These results suggest that frequent yogurt consumption may contribute to improved diet quality and a healthier insulin profile in children. Future longitudinal studies and clinical trials in children are warranted to explore the health benefits of yogurt consumption.


NHANES Yogurt Glucose Insulin Children