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Dairy products and physical stature: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials

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  • de Beer, Hans

Abstract

The positive relationship between per capita availability of dairy products and average height found in historical studies (for instance in nineteenth century Bavaria, Prussia and France; Baten, 2009) does not necessarily indicate a causal relationship. Historical studies usually apply non-experimental methods that may produce substantial bias. Modern experimental controlled studies may provide high quality evidence supporting a causal relationship between consumption of dairy products and physical growth. This paper provides a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials investigating the effect of supplementing usual diet with dairy products on physical growth. Twelve studies provided sufficient, independent data for meta-analysis. Seven studies were conducted since the 1990s. The other studies were conducted between 1926 and 1980. Studies were conducted in Europe, USA, China, Northern Vietnam, Kenya, Indonesia and India. Many studies had some internal validity problems such as lack of randomisation or dissimilarity of groups at baseline regarding height and age, which affects the quality of evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • de Beer, Hans, 2012. "Dairy products and physical stature: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 299-309.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:10:y:2012:i:3:p:299-309
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2011.08.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Komlos, John, 1987. "The Height and Weight of West Point Cadets: Dietary Change in Antebellum America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 897-927, December.
    2. J. W. Drukker & Vincent Tassenaar, 1997. "Paradoxes of Modernization and Material Well-Being in the Netherlands during the Nineteenth Century," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 331-378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Zehetmayer, Matthias, 2011. "The continuation of the antebellum puzzle: stature in the US, 1847–1894," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 313-327, August.
    4. Baten, Joerg, 2009. "Protein supply and nutritional status in nineteenth century Bavaria, Prussia and France," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 165-180, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Headey, Derek D. & Hoddinott, John, 2016. "Agriculture, nutrition and the green revolution in Bangladesh," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 122-131.
    2. Vyas, Sangita & Kov, Phyrum & Smets, Susanna & Spears, Dean, 2016. "Disease externalities and net nutrition: Evidence from changes in sanitation and child height in Cambodia, 2005–2010," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 235-245.
    3. Derek Headey & Kalle Hirvonen & John Hoddinott, 2018. "Animal Sourced Foods and Child Stunting," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 100(5), pages 1302-1319.
    4. Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2015. "Inferring the economic standard of living and health from cohort height: Evidence from modern populations in developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 114-128.
    5. John Hoddinott & Derek Headey & Mekdim Dereje, 2015. "Cows, Missing Milk Markets, and Nutrition in Rural Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(8), pages 958-975, August.
    6. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:30:y:2018:i:c:p:150-161 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Alok Bhargava, 2015. "Diet Quality, Child Health, and Food Policies in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 247-276.
    8. Headey, Derek & Hirvonen, Kalle & Hoddinott, John, 2017. "Animal sourced foods and child stunting: Evidence from 112,887 children in 46 countries," 2018 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 5-7, 2018, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 264958, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Blum, Matthias & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2019. "Living standards and inequality in the Industrial Revolution: Evidence from the height of University of Edinburgh students in the 1830s," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2019-04, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    10. Ruel, Marie T. & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Balagamwala, Mysbah, 2017. "Nutrition-sensitive agriculture: What have we learned and where do we go from here?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1681, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Carolin Schmidt, 2018. "Home is where the health is: Housing and adult height from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries," ERES eres2018_33, European Real Estate Society (ERES).

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