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Pediatría Atención Primaria

Print version ISSN 1139-7632


PENAFIEL FREIRE, Diego Mauricio et al. Association of dairy consumption with respiratory infections. Myth or reality?. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria [online]. 2018, vol.20, n.77, pp.45-52. ISSN 1139-7632.


milk and dairy products are important nutrients in child development. However, the belief that they are associated with respiratory infections is leading to restrictions in their consumption or their replacement by plant-based milks. The objective of our study was to analyse the potential association between dairy consumption and certain respiratory infections in children.

Materials and methods:

we conducted a cross-sectional study in 169 children aged 4 to 7 years that participated on a voluntary basis. The data were collected through paper-based questionnaires. We collected data on dietary habits through a 151-item semiqualitative food frequency questionnaire. We assessed the association of the consumption of milk, cheese and yoghurt with specific respiratory diseases (acute otitis media, sinusitis, mastoiditis, pneumonia), comparing two groups of participants defined by their consumption relative to the median for each food, and using multivariate logistic regression.


we found no association between the consumption of dairy products and the respiratory diseases under study (odds ratio: 0.85; 95% confidence interval: 0.44 to 1.64ENT#093;). In the separate analysis of each dairy category, we found an inverse correlation between consumption of cheese and overall respiratory disease (odds ratio: 0.50; 95% confidence interval: 0.26 to 0.98), but no association with a specific infection (acute otitis media or pneumonia). We found no significant differences in outcomes for any other dairy category (milk or yoghurt).


our results did not find a direct association between dairy consumption and respiratory infections in children. The current data do not support restricting consumption of milk or dairy products in school-aged children.

Keywords : Dairy products; Otitis media; Pneumonia; Respiratory tract infections.

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