Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Dairy intake, blood pressure and incident hypertension in a general British population: the 1946 birth cohort



We aimed to examine the association between intake of different subgroups of dairy products and blood pressure and incident hypertension 10 years later, adjusting for confounding factors.


We studied 1,750 British men and women from the 1946 British birth cohort from 1989 to 1999 (age 43 and 53 years, respectively). Diet was assessed by 5-day food diaries using photographs in the estimation of portion size. Systolic (sbp) and diastolic (dbp) blood pressure and prevalent hypertension were assessed at age 43 and 53 years. Linear regression and logistic regression were used to examine 10-year blood pressure levels and incident hypertension by baseline dairy intake.


There was a weak non-significant trend of a protective effect of total dairy intake on blood pressure and incident hypertension, but no evidence for a dose–response relationship (OR for incident hypertension: 0.88 (95% CI 0.68;1.14) 2nd vs. 1st tertile and 0.93 (95% CI 0.72;1.18) 3rd vs. 1st tertile). Higher intake of low-fat and fermented dairy was linked to a higher sbp but in a nonlinear manner. Adjustment for other dietary factors, health behaviours and BMI attenuated these associations.


Total dairy intake and specific dairy subgroups were not associated with blood pressure and incident hypertension among a representative sample of British adults after adjustment for confounding factors.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Miura K, Nakagawa H, Ohashi Y, Harada A, Taguri M, Kushiro T, Takahashi A, Nishinaga M, Soejima H, Ueshima H, Japan Arteriosclerosis Longitudinal Study (JALS) Group (2009) Four blood pressure indexes and the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction in Japanese men and women: a meta-analysis of 16 cohort studies. Circulation 119:1892–1898

  2. 2.

    Hansson L (1996) The benefits of lowering elevated blood pressure: a critical review of studies of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in hypertension. J Hypertens 14:537–544

  3. 3.

    Nagaya T, Yoshida H, Takahashi H, Kawai M (2010) Resting heart rate and blood pressure, independent of each other, proportionally raise the risk for type-2 diabetes mellitus. Int J Epidemiol 39:215–222

  4. 4.

    Antikainen R, Jousilahti P, Tuomilehto J (1998) Systolic blood pressure, isolated systolic hypertension and risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in the middle-aged population. J Hypertens 16:577–583

  5. 5.

    Appel LJ (2003) Lifestyle modification as a means to prevent and treat high blood pressure. J Am Soc Nephrol 14:S99–S102

  6. 6.

    Appel LJ, Champagne CM, Harsha DW, Cooper LS, Obarzanek E, Elmer PJ (2003) Writing Group of the PREMIER collaborative research group effects of comprehensive lifestyle modification on blood pressure control: main results of the PREMIER clinical trial. JAMA 289:2083–2093

  7. 7.

    Appel LJ, American Society of Hypertension Writing Group (2009) ASH position paper: dietary approaches to lower blood pressure. J Am Soc Hypertens 3:321–331

  8. 8.

    Chiuve SE, McCullough ML, Sacks FM, Rimm EB (2006) Healthy lifestyle factors in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease among men: benefits among users and nonusers of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medications. Circulation 114:160–167

  9. 9.

    Chiuve SE, Rexrode KM, Spiegelman D, Logroscino G, Manson JE, Rimm EB (2008) Primary prevention of stroke by healthy lifestyle. Circulation 118:947–954

  10. 10.

    Wang L, Manson JE, Forman JP, Gaziano JM, Buring JE, Sesso HD (2010) Dietary fatty acids and the risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older women. Hypertension 56:598–604

  11. 11.

    Shah M, Adams-Huet B, Garg A (2007) Effect of high-carbohydrate or high-cis-monounsaturated fat diets on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of intervention trials. Am J Clin Nutr 85:1251–1256

  12. 12.

    Liu L, Ikeda K, Sullivan DH et al (2002) Epidemiological evidence of the association between dietary protein intake and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of published data. Hypertens Res 25:689–695

  13. 13.

    Elwood PC, Pickering JE, Givens ID, Gallacher JE (2010) The consumption of milk and dairy foods and the incidence of vascular disease and diabetes: an overview of the evidence. Lipids 45:925–939

  14. 14.

    Xu JY, Qin LQ, Wang PY et al (2008) Effect of milk tripeptides on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition 24:933–940

  15. 15.

    Griffith LE, Guyatt GH, Cook RJ et al (1999) The influence of dietary and nondietary calcium supplementation on blood pressure: an updated metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Hypertens 12:84–92

  16. 16.

    Jorde R, Bønaa KH (2000) Calcium from dairy products, vitamin D intake, and blood pressure: the Tromsø study. Am J Clin Nutr 71:1530–1535

  17. 17.

    Geleijnse JM, Kok FJ, Grobbee DE (2003) Blood pressure response to changes in sodium and potassium intake: a metaregression analysis of randomized trials. J Hum Hypertens 17:471–480

  18. 18.

    Mizushima S, Cappuccio FP, Nichols R et al (1998) Dietary magnesium intake and blood pressure: a qualitative overview of the observational studies. J Hum Hypertens 12:447–453

  19. 19.

    Geleijnse JM, Kok FJ, Grobbee DE (2004) Impact of dietary and lifestyle factors on the prevalence of hypertension in Western populations. Eur J Public Health 14:235–239

  20. 20.

    Pereira MA, Jacobs DR Jr, van Horn L, Slattery ML, Kartashov AI, Ludwig DS (2002) Dairy consumption, obesity, and the insulin resistance syndrome in young adults: the CARDIA Study. JAMA 287:2081–2089

  21. 21.

    Alonso A, Beunza JJ, Delgado-Rodríguez M, Martínez JA, Martínez-González MA (2005) Low-fat dairy consumption and reduced risk of hypertension: the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 82:972–979

  22. 22.

    Moore LL, Singer MR, Bradlee ML, Djoussé L, Proctor MH, Cupples LA, Ellison RC (2005) Intake of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in early childhood and subsequent blood pressure change. Epidemiology 16:4–11

  23. 23.

    Steffen LM, Kroenke CH, Yu X, Pereira MA, Slattery ML, Van Horn L, Gross MD, Jacobs DR Jr (2005) Associations of plant food, dairy product, and meat intakes with 15-y incidence of elevated blood pressure in young black and white adults: the coronary artery risk development in young adults (CARDIA) study. Am J Clin Nutr 82:1169–1177

  24. 24.

    Dauchet L, Kesse-Guyot E, Czernichow S, Bertrais S, Estaquio C, Péneau S et al (2007) Dietary patterns and blood pressure change over 5-y follow-up in the SU.VI.MAX cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 85:1650–1656

  25. 25.

    Wang L, Manson JE, Buring JE, Lee IM, Sesso HD (2008) Dietary intake of dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D and the risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older women. Hypertension 51:1073–1079

  26. 26.

    Snijder MB, van Dam RM, Stehouwer CD, Hiddink GJ, Heine RJ, Dekker JM (2008) A prospective study of dairy consumption in relation to changes in metabolic risk factors: the Hoorn study. Obesity (Silver Spring) 16:706–709

  27. 27.

    Toledo E, Delgado-Rodríguez M, Estruch R, Salas-Salvadó J, Corella D, Gomez-Gracia E et al (2009) Low-fat dairy products and blood pressure: follow-up of 2290 older persons at high cardiovascular risk participating in the PREDIMED study. Br J Nutr 101:59–67

  28. 28.

    Usinger L, Ibsenb H, Jensena TL (2009) Does fermented milk possess antihypertensive effect in humans? J Hypertens 27:1115–1120

  29. 29.

    Djousse L, Pankow JS, Hunt SC, Heiss G, Province MA, Kabagambe EK (2006) Influence of saturated fat and linolenic acid on the association between intake of dairy products and blood pressure. Hypertension 48:335–341

  30. 30.

    Ralston RA, Lee JH, Truby H, Palermo CE, Walker KZ (2011) A systematic review and meta-analysis of elevated blood pressure and consumption of dairy foods. J Hum Hypertens (Epub ahead of print)

  31. 31.

    Wadsworth ME, Mann SL, Rodgers B, Kuh DJ, Hilder WS, Yusuf EJ (1992) Loss and representativeness in a 43 year followup of a national birth cohort. J Epidemiol Community Health 46:300–304

  32. 32.

    Prynne CJ, Paul AA, Mishra GD, Greenberg DC, Wadsworth ME (2005) Changes in intake of key nutrients over 17 years during adult life of a British birth cohort. Br J Nutr 94:368–376

  33. 33.

    Bingham SA, Cassidy A, Cole TJ, Welch A, Runswick SA, Black AE et al (1995) Validation of weighed records and other methods of dietary assessment using the 24 h urine nitrogen technique and other biological markers. Br J Nutr 73:531–550

  34. 34.

    Braddon FE, Wadsworth MEJ, Davies JMC, Cripps HA (1988) Social and regional differences in food and alcohol consumption and their measurement in a national birth cohort. J Epidemiol Community Health 42:341–349

  35. 35.

    Price GM, Paul AA, Key FB, Harter AC, Cole TJ, Day KC et al (1995) Measurement of diet in a large national survey: comparison of computerised and manual coding in household measures. J Hum Nutr Diet 8:417–428

  36. 36.

    Paul AA, Southgate DAT (1978) McCance & Widdowson’s the composition of foods, 4th edn. HMSO, London

  37. 37.

    Richards M, Hardy R, Wadsworth MEJ (2005) Alcohol consumption and midlife cognition change in the British 1946 birth cohort study. Alcohol Alcohol 40:112–117

  38. 38.

    Willett W, Stampfer MJ (1986) Total energy intake: implications for epidemiologic analyses. Am J Epidemiol 124:17–27

  39. 39.

    Engberink MF, Geleijnse MJ, de Jong M, Smit HA, Kok FJ, Verschuren WM (2009) Dairy intake, blood pressure, and incident hypertension in a general Dutch population. J Nutr 139:582–587

  40. 40.

    Engberink MF, Hendriksen AHM, Schouten EG, van Rooij FJ, Hofman A, Witteman JC et al (2009) Inverse association between dairy intake and hypertension: the Rotterdam study. Am J Clin Nutr 89:1877–1883

  41. 41.

    Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, Vollmer WM, Svetkey LP, Sacks FM et al (1997) A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med 336:1117–1124

  42. 42.

    Barr SI, McCarron DA, Heaney RP, Dawson-Hughes B, Berga SL, Stern JS et al (2000) Effects of increased consumption of fluid milk on energy and nutrient intake, body weight, and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy older adults. J Am Diet Assoc 100:810–817

  43. 43.

    Wennersberg MH, Smedman A, Turpeinen AM, Retterstøl K, Tengblad S, Lipre E et al (2009) Dairy products and metabolic effects in overweight men and women: results from a 6-mo intervention study. Am J Clin Nutr 90:960–968

Download references


The study was funded by the Medical Research Council, and some aspects of the analysis were funded by The European Commission, Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources Programme, contract number QLG1-CT-2000–01643. SSM, JMG and AH and were supported by an unrestricted grant from the Dutch dairy industry (NZO).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This study was conducted according to the guidelines laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki, and all procedures involving human subjects were approved by an ethics committee. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to their inclusion in the study. The data are the responsibility of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (http://www.nshd.mrc.ac.uk) and are available in so far as consent and ethical approval permit and as it is within the scope of the team’s resources to make them available.

Author information

Correspondence to Alexandros Heraclides.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOC 66 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Heraclides, A., Mishra, G.D., Hardy, R.J. et al. Dairy intake, blood pressure and incident hypertension in a general British population: the 1946 birth cohort. Eur J Nutr 51, 583–591 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-011-0242-z

Download citation


  • Dairy products
  • Blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Birth cohort
  • Epidemiology