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The Maastricht study explored the potential association between dairy consumption and knee osteoarthritis (OA), and found that higher intake of full-fat dairy and Dutch cheese - but not milk - was significantly associated with the lower risk of knee OA.
They studied in 3010 individuals aged 40–75 years and compared non-OA to 427 (14%) participants who were classified as having knee OA based on a modified version of the American College of Rheumatology clinical classification criteria (minus knee crepitus measure) for knee OA. Data on dairy consumption were appraised using a 253-item survey covering 47 dairy products.
By comparing the highest and lowest tertiles of dairy intake, they found significant inverse association between knee OA and intake of full-fat dairy.
- OR = 0.68 (95%CI 0.50–0.92) for full-fat dairy
- OR = 0.75 (95%CI 0.56–0.99) for Dutch cheese (i.e., Gouda, Edam or Maasdam)
- No significant associations were found for other dairy product categories, including milk
Further research is called for to assess the relationship between dairy consumption, and in particular semi-hard cheeses, with incident knee OA.