Some Dairy Foods May Impact Early Menopause Risk

A new study has found that consumption of low-fat dairy may represent a modifiable risk factor for early menopause among premenopausal women, adding to previous evidence that suggests a potential role of dairy intake in the ovarian aging process.


Early natural menopause, which affects approximately 10% of women, can have serious health consequences. It is known to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other conditions.

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With this in mind, Alexandra C Purdue-Smithe, PhD, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of Nurses’ Health Study II data. Specifically, they aimed to examine the impact of total, low-fat, high-fat, and individual dairy food intake on early menopause risk.


Premenopausal women were followed from 1991 (the beginning of follow-up) until 2011 in order to assess for early menopause, and dietary intake was evaluated via food frequency questionnaires. Cox proportional hazards models were used, and results were adjusted for age, smoking, and other factors.


Findings from the study indicated that a total baseline intake of at least 4 servings of dairy per day was associated with a 23% lower risk of early menopause compared with an intake of less than 4 servings per week.


Notably, the association between dairy consumption and early menopause risk seemed to be limited to low-fat dairy foods, with a hazard ratio of 0.83 for at least 2 servings per day vs less than 3 servings per month.


However, high-fat dairy intake was not found to be associated with early menopause.


—Christina Vogt



Purdue-Smithe AC, Whitcomb BW, Manson JE, et al. A prospective study of dairy food intake and early menopause [Published online September 18, 2018]. Am J Epidemiol.