Findings regarding the association between milk consumption and all-cause mortality reported by studies carried out in Western populations have been inconsistent. However, no studies have been conducted in Japan on this issue. The present study aimed to investigate the association of milk drinking with all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in Japan.
The data were obtained from the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) study. A total of 94 980 Japanese adults aged 40-79 years who had no history of cancer, stroke, or chronic cardiovascular diseases were followed between 1988 and 2009. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of mortalities were assessed using a Cox proportional hazard regression model and taking the lowest milk consumption group as the reference.
During a median of 19 years of follow-up, there were 21 775 deaths (28.8% and 35.3% from cardiovascular diseases and cancer, respectively). Drinking milk 1-2 times a month was associated with lower all-cause mortality in men compared to those who never drank milk (multivariable-adjusted HR 0.92; 95% CI, 0.85-0.99). In women, those who drank 3-4 times a week also had a lower mortality risk compared with those who never drank milk (HR 0.91; 95% CI 0.85-0.98). Inverse associations between drinking milk and mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancer were found only in men.
Drinking milk at least 1-2 times a month was associated with lower all-cause mortality in men compared to never drinking milk. An inverse association was also found between drinking milk and mortality from both cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, lower all-cause mortality in women was found only in those who drank milk 3-4 times/week.