Insufficient intake of dairy products is a nutritional problem of concern in China. However, the knowledge, attitude, and practice of consuming dairy products in the Chinese population remain unknown. A total of 1739 subjects from eight cities in China participated in this study. A questionnaire was used to measure knowledge of and attitude toward dairy. A semi-food intake frequency questionnaire was used to obtain the frequencies and amount of different kinds of dairy product intake. Calcium and protein intake were investigated within one 24-hour period of dietary recall. The results showed that questions related to lactose intolerance had the highest unknown rate and the lowest accuracy. Males, subjects with a lower education level, lower monthly family income (<3000 yuan), lower monthly family food expenditure (<1000 yuan), and lower personal monthly expenditure on dairy products (<10 yuan) had a significantly lower knowledge score. For attitude, 42.7 percent of subjects had self-perceived insufficient intake of dairy. While 15.2 percent of subjects reported experiencing lactose intolerance symptoms, 29.5 percent did not know the reasons. In practice, the median (25th, 75th) intake of dairy products was 71.4 (0.0, 200.0) g/day. A significantly lower intake of dairy and low-fat or fat-free dairy products was shown in subjects with poor dairy knowledge. For the perception of lactose intolerance, the lowest intake was shown in the “unsure” group. In conclusion, knowledge gaps and self-perception bias regarding dairy products exist in Chinese urban adults and these are associated with the quantity and quality of dairy intake.
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