OBJECTIVE: Dairy foods help achieve essential nutrient adequacy. This role may be conflicted where so-called chronic diseases prevail. We have examined associations between dairy intake and mortality where dairy foods have not been traditional. METHODS: A representative Taiwanese cohort of 3810 subjects, aged 19-64 years, derived from the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT, 1993-1996) was linked to death registration (1993-2008). Participants were categorized by 4 dairy weekly intake frequencies from 0 to >7 times. Mortality hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional-hazards models. RESULTS: Nonconsumers of dairy products included 30.7% of the men and 22.1% of the women. Adverse sociodemographic and personal behaviors were generally significantly associated with lower dairy consumption. After adjustment for covariates, together with body mass index (BMI) and supplement use, those with 3-7 times/week intakes had an HR (95% CI) for all-cause mortality of 0.61 (0.39-0.96) with a significant dose-response trend (p = 0.043). Similarly, the HR for cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality with dairy weekly intake frequency >7 was 0.14 (0.02-0.97) with a significant linear trend (p = 0.007). For stroke, the corresponding HR (95% CI) was 0.03 (0.00-0.28) with a linear trend. By age and with adjustment for dietary quality, food, and calcium or vitamin D intake, significance and dose-response relationships remained. Dairy intake and cancer mortality were not associated. CONCLUSION: In a Chinese food culture, a dairy foods intake in adults up to 7 times a week does not increase mortality and may have favorable effects on stroke.