International Conference on Nutrition & Growth 2017 March 2017: Kids’ Health Grant Application

Yogurt can improve health in children

vicky-drapeau-symposium-2017-amsterdam

Yogurt consumption is associated with better metabolic profile in children, in particular those whose families are predisposed to obesity, and could therefore play a role in the prevention in childhood obesity. This was the message from Dr. Vicky Drapeau (Université Laval, Québec) to the YINI symposium “How yogurt could improve health in children”, which took place as part of 4th International Conference on Nutrition & Growth (Amsterdam, March 2-4, 2017).

Yogurt is part of a prudent diet

There is a considerable amount of data showing that dairy products are linked with better body composition, metabolic health and a healthier lifestyle. Of all dairy products, yogurt is associated with the better dietary habits, and a number of its metabolic benefits have recently come to light. So, explained Dr. Drapeau, regular consumption of yogurt has been identified as a characteristic of a “prudent diet”, a dietary profile that, unlike the “Western diet”, is associated with better overall health, better glycemic control and notably a lower level of insulin, and less resistance to insulin.

 More marked effects for those predisposed to obesity

However, there are not much data on children and adolescents, and until recently no study had considered genetic susceptibility to obesity. This latter issue is what Dr. Drapeau researched, as part of a YINI Grant, when she looked at the relation between yogurt consumption, weight and metabolic profile in children and adolescents genetically predisposed to obesity. Her research indicates that the consumption of yogurt is associated with a lower level of insulin, and that this association is particularly important for people predisposed to obesity. Another interesting discovery is that association with insulin levels is not influenced by body composition.

 Less weight gain among children who consume yogurt

The hypothesis formulated in the research by Dr. Drapeau, namely that yogurt is associated with a better metabolic profile and a healthier weight profile, particularly for those children, who are genetically predisposed to obesity, is also confirmed by other elements. In a cohort of 198 children with a family history of obesity, monitored on a prospective basis, weight gain over 6 years proved to be lower among yogurt consumers than non-consumers. Dr. Drapeau concluded that even if intervention studies are required to confirm these results, this study suggests that yogurt consumption could constitute an interesting intervention strategy for tackling childhood obesity.

Key learnings

·       Yogurt consumption in children is associated with a lower level of insulin and a lower resistance to insulin, in particular in children with risk due to a familial predisposition to obesity.

·       This association is not influenced by body composition.

·       In children with risk of obesity, weight gain over 6 years is lower among yogurt consumers than non-consumers.

·       Consuming yogurt could be an interesting intervention strategy for tackling childhood obesity

Source: YINI Symposium “How yogurt could improve health in children” – 4th International Conference on Nutrition & Growth (Amsterdam, March 2-4, 2017)