Study logo

Milk and dairy products contain significant amounts of nutrients that contribute to optimal health – nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and high-quality protein. In this study, we will look at the role of dairy foods on children’s healthy growth and development. While dairy products contain significant amounts of nutrients required for children’s healthy growth and development, we do not know the specific contribution of dairy foods to Canadian children’s growth and development. We also know very little about children’s knowledge and attitudes toward milk and dairy consumption, in addition to facilitators and barriers to consumption. To fill this knowledge gap, we will document milk and dairy product intakes of 5-11-year-old children every 6 months, over a 2.5-year period. Using a novel mixed-method longitudinal study design, we will measure body growth and development in Canadian children. We will also explore barriers and facilitators of dairy consumption. The data will provide valuable information for developing targeted health promotion initiatives and marketing strategies about the benefits of milk and dairy food consumption.

Study Recruitment Poster

Recruitment poster

About Us:

Vatanparast Nutritional Epidemiology Lab:

VNEL logo

Dr. Vatanparast’s Nutritional Epidemiology Lab (VNEL) is located in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Pharmacy & Nutrition. The Lab employs undergraduate Nutrition Students, Master of Public Health Students, and Biostatistics students to build capacity in upcoming research professionals. The VNELab focuses on research and health promotion initiatives targeting children’s health and chronic disease. Dr. Hassan Vatanparast, the Head of the VNELab, is leading several projects at the local, national and global levels aimed to improve the nutritional health of the general population, newcomers, and Indigenous communities. The VNELab collaborates locally through the College of Pharmacy & Nutrition, School of Public Health, and other organizations, provincially, nationally, and internationally.


Who are we?

We are a team of researchers from the University of Saskatchewan with backgrounds in nutrition, epidemiology, kinesiology, pediatrics, and dentistry who study the role of nutrition (particularly dairy food consumption) and physical activity in optimal growth and development of Canadian children aged 5-11 years.

Team members


Dr. Hassan Vatanparast

Hassan Vatanparast

Hassan Vatanparast is a Professor in the field of nutritional epidemiology at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition and School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Adam Baxter Jones

Adam Baxter Jones

Adam Baxter Jones is a Kinesiology Professor and an associate member of the Department of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine.

Dr. Marta Erlandson

Marta Erlandson

Marta Erlandson is an Associate Professor in the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Jess Haines

Jess Haines

Jess Haines is a Professor of Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph and the Co-director of the Guelph Family Health Study, a family-based cohort study.

Dr. Ginny Lane

Ginny Lane

Ginny Lane is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the University of Idaho and a registered dietitian.

Dr. Walter Siqueira

Walter Siqueria

Walter Siqueira is a Professor and Associate Dean (Academic) at the College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Siqueira is considered an international authority in salivary diagnostics.

Dr. Shiyi Chen

Shiyi chen

Shiyi Chen is an Assistant Professor at the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Idaho.

Dr. Ling-Ling Tsao

Ling Ling Tsao

Ling-Ling Tsao an Assistant Professor at the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Idaho.

Dr. Susan Petryk

Susan Patryk

Susan Petryk, a Regina-based pediatrician with a specialist interest in child development, is also researching the impact of virtual appointments on patient access.


Karim Karbin

Karim Karbin

Karim Karbin is a PhD student at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition who is assigned to this project.

Emily Johnston


Emily Johnston is a fourth-year undergraduate student in Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan and a research assistant.

Dr. Paras Ahmad


Dr. Paras Ahmad is a PhD scholar at the College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan (2021; Canada), which is funded by the University Graduate Scholarship (2022 – 2024). His PhD project, in Siqueira’s Lab, is based on
the role of salivary proteins/peptides in dental caries.


Mojtaba Shafiee

Mojtaba Shafiee

Mojtaba Shafiee is a PhD candidate at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition and a lab manager at Dr. Vatanparast Nutritional Epidemiology Lab.

Zoe Bye

Zoe Bye

Zoe Bye works for the Vatanparast Nutritional Epidemiology Lab and fills the role of project manager for this project. She has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and nutraceuticals sciences and a master’s degree in public health.



This project is supported by a grant from the Dairy Farmers of Canada. The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is a not-for-profit organization that strives to create stable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry. It works to maintain the viability of Canadian dairy farms and promote dairy products and their health benefits.

Partner Organizations

usask Idaho
N4 Osteoporosis Canada

Contact Us:

Health Sciences Bldg

104 Clinic Place

College of Pharmacy & Nutrition

University of Saskatchewan

Saskatoon SK Canada S7N 2Z4



Ph: (306) 966-8866