We aimed to prospectively assess dairy intake among adolescents, and determine the predictors of adequate dairy consumption during adolescence. 634 Sydney schoolchildren (351 girls and 283 boys) who had dietary data at both age 12 and 17 were included for analyses. Dairy consumption was assessed from validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires. At age 12, mean total dairy intake was 1.62 serves/day which decreased to 1.40 by age 17 (p ＜0.0001). Mean serves/day of milk decreased from 1.11 to 0.92 during adolescence. Moreover, 90% of the decrease in serves/day of total dairy was due to reduced milk consumption. At age 12, 8.5% of children consumed ≥3.5 serves/day of total dairy and this decreased to 6.2%, 5 years later at age 17 (p = 0.001). A lower proportion of girls compared with boys consumed ≥3 serves/day of total dairy at both ages 12 (p = 0.005) and 17 (p =0.01). Participants with tertiary qualified parents at baseline were 85% more likely to have intakes of the dairy food group above the median during the 5 years, OR 1.85 (95% CI 1.18-2.91). Frequent flavored milk consumption (≥2 serves/week) at baseline was associated with ~5-fold greater likelihood of maintaining intakes of dairy foods above the median during adolescence. Dairy food consumption decreased significantly during adolescence, driven primarily by a decrease in milk consumption. Most adolescents did not meet national recommended guidelines for the dairy food group intake. These findings highlight the need for further research into intervention strategies aimed at sustaining dairy consumption.
- Sydney Childhood Eye Study