LEAWOOD, Kansas—The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), based in Leawood, has announced an internal investigation of an “educational” session that promotes unhealthful dairy products. This is in response to a complaint submitted July 26 by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a national nonprofit of 17,000 doctors, including Kerry Graff, MD, an AAPF member since 1997.
At issue is a program taking place Aug. 5 that is hosted by the American Dairy Association North East (ADANE), an organization that advances the dairy industry’s economic interests despite the risk of prostate cancer and other serious diseases that disproportionally affect African Americans and other minority populations.
According to a program announcement, the AAFP has reviewed the program, “Lactose Intolerance and Health Inequities Across Diverse Populations,” and will allow physicians to receive continuing medical education (CME) credit for attending. The Physicians Committee argues that awarding CME credit to this session is a violation of standards set out by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).
“It appears that the program, conceived, created, and hosted by the American Dairy Association North East (ADANE), conflicts with standards for commercial support issued by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), to which the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has committed. We respectfully ask that the event not be accredited,” says the Physicians Committee in its complaint.
In order to be in compliance with the standards, the Physicians Committee sates in its complaint, “…the content of the presentation must inform viewers of the risks associated with dairy consumption, especially for minority populations. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 95 percent of Asians Americans, 60-80 percent of African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews, 80-100 percent of Native Americans, and 50-80 percent of Hispanics are lactose intolerant. Nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population belongs to these groups. Yet ADANE intentionally mispresents these percentages…”
Milk consumption is associated with prostate cancer mortality, which takes a disproportionate toll on African American men. In a 2016 meta-analysis, published in Nutrition Journal, high milk consumption was associated with 43% higher risk of prostate cancer mortality, compared to low dairy consumption. Dairy intake was significantly associated with the incidence of breast cancer in a 2020 report from the Adventist Health Study-2, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Breast cancer mortality is strikingly and disproportionately high among African American women.
Dairy products are also the leading source of saturated (“bad”) fat, a contributor to cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease, among other conditions.
“Although food producers are free to advertise their products any way they like, including via webinars, AAFP must ensure that the programs it accredits are unbiased, evidence-based, and free of commercial entanglements,” the Physicians Committee concludes in its complaint.