Journal of Human Hypertension (2012) 26, 3–13; doi:10.1038/jhh.2011.3; published online 10 February 2011

A systematic review and meta-analysis of elevated blood pressure and consumption of dairy foods

R A Ralston1, J H Lee1, H Truby1, C E Palermo1 and K Z Walker1

1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Southern Clinical School of Medicine, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence: RA Ralston, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash Medical Centre, Block E, Level 5, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia. E-mail:

Received 20 August 2010; Revised 6 December 2010; Accepted 10 December 2010; Published online 10 February 2011.



Hypertension is a public health priority in developed countries and worldwide, and is strongly associated with increased risk and progression of cardiovascular and renal diseases. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to examine the association between dairy food intake during adulthood and the development of elevated blood pressure (EBP), specifically comparing the association of EBP with consumption of low-fat dairy foods versus high-fat dairy foods, as well as cheese versus fluid dairy foods (milk or yogurt). Seven databases were searched and five cohort studies selected for inclusion, involving nearly 45000 subjects and 11500 cases of EBP. Meta-analysis of consumption of dairy foods and EBP in adults gave a relative risk (RR) of 0.87 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.81–0.94). Separation of high- and low-fat dairy foods, however, indicated a significant association with low-fat dairy foods only (RR of 0.84 (95% CI 0.74–0.95)). Additional analyses showed no association between EBP and cheese, although fluid dairy foods were significantly associated with a reduced development in EBP (RR of 0.92 (95% CI 0.87–0.98)). Little heterogeneity was observed among the data presented. This meta-analysis supports the inverse association between low-fat dairy foods and fluid dairy foods and risk of EBP. Understanding these relationships can aid in the development of public health messages involving dairy foods, and supports current recommendations.


blood pressure; cheese; dairy products; milk; yogurt

Extra navigation