This report uses cross-sectional results from the Scottish Heart Health Study to investigate whether milk consumption has an independent effect on the prevalence of coronary heart disease. Milk consumption was assessed by questionnaire in men and women aged 40–59 years (n = 10359) who participated in a survey of risk factors for coronary heart disease between 1984 and 1986. Odds ratios for coronary heart disease were calculated according to volume and type of milk consumed for subjects with and without symptoms of coronary heart disease. Statistical adjustment was made for the classicial risk factors.
A higher percentage of men and women with diagnosed coronary heart disease (CHD) usually consume low-fat milk, compared with asymptomatic controls. Odds ratios for having undiagnosed heart disease did not differ significantly with volume or type of milk. However, the odds ratios for having diagnosed heart disease were lower in the moderate (0.5–1 pint/d) milk consumption group. Patterns of milk consumption in patients diagnosed as having CHD are likely to be confounded by dietary changes post-diagnosis. Milk consumption appears to have little independent effect on the prevalence of coronary heart disease in this Scottish population.