Results of a 14-day study that followed the diets of approximately 3,000 women ages 19 and older illustrate a link between healthier body weight and better nutrient intakes with yogurt consumption. Research conducted by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, Minneapolis, shows women who eat yogurt frequently are less likely to be overweight and more likely to meet their recommended daily intakes of important nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D.

Thirteen percent of the women studied ate three or more servings of yogurt over a two week period. In this same group, the women on average had a 15% lower body mass index (BMI) than women who didn't consume any yogurt.

Ann Albertson, MS, RD senior nutrition scientist at the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, who led the research effort, shared the findings at the North American Association for the Study of Obesity in New Orleans today. Earlier results from analysis of NHANES data, another large nationally representative survey, were presented in April at Experimental Biology and showed similar findings based on one day food records.

"Obesity continues to be a leading health risk for Americans of all ages," explained Albertson. "Our findings build on previous studies and offer good news for yogurt eaters. Yogurt is a food that's portable, portion controlled, nutrient rich, and easy to add to a meal or to enjoy as a snack. It provides a good source of dairy calcium and other essential nutrients that women need for optimum health."

Additional key findings from the Bell Institute study include:

- Women who consumed yogurt more frequently (at least three servings over 14 days) had a significantly lower BMI, or healthier body weight, than those who didn't consume yogurt;

- Overall, women who ate three or more servings had better nutrient intakes and were less likely to fall short on important nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, magnesium and phosphorous;

- Women eat yogurt mainly at breakfast (34%) and lunch (38%), but also as a snack (19 percent) or at dinner (9 percent);

The news about the relationship between frequent low fat dairy consumption and healthier body weights is not new and research is ongoing to further understand the association. According to the USDA dietary guidelines for Americans, most people should be eating 3 servings per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products like yogurt, yet many fall short of this recommendation.

"Collectively, the findings from this study and the body of literature suggest an important role for low-fat dairy products in the ability to help maintain a healthy body weight," Albertson concludes.

About General Mills

General Mills, with annual net sales of $13.4 billion, is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, General Mills' mission is to innovate to make people's lives healthier, easier, and richer around the world. Its global brand portfolio includes Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Old El Paso and more. It also has more than 100 U.S. consumer brands, more than 30 of which generate annual retail sales in excess of $100 million. General Mills also is a leading supplier of baking and other food products to the foodservice and commercial baking industries.