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Keywords:

  • dietary pattern;
  • processed meat;
  • red meat

Abstract

Background

Red and processed meat intakes have been positively associated with the risk of several major chronic diseases. Understanding population intakes is important when formulating dietary recommendations. The present study investigated the dispersion of intakes of red and processed meat and associations with dietary, socio-demographic and risk factors.

Methods

The present study comprised a secondary analysis of the British National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2000/1, including 7-day dietary records, from 766 male and 958 female respondents aged 19–64 years. Composite dishes were disaggregated into primary ingredients. Self-reported vegetarians (V) were grouped into one stratum and other respondents were stratified into five groups (F1–F5) according to energy-adjusted red plus processed meat (RPM) intake, to give six strata. 7-day RPM intakes were adjusted to estimate ‘usual’ habitual intakes, using ratios of between-person to total variance in daily intakes.

Results

Mean recorded intakes of red, processed, white and total meat were 48, 41, 40 and 129 g day−1, respectively, in males and 30, 22, 30 and 82 g day−1 in females. Estimated habitual intakes of RPM standardised to sex-specific energy intakes across the six strata were: 12 (V), 56, 76, 90, 105 and 137 g day−1 in males and 5 (V), 34, 46, 55, 65 and 88 g day−1 in females. Lower RPM consumers tended to be of higher social class and educational level and to have more favourable levels of some risk factors.

Conclusions

Mean intakes of red, processed and white meat were of similar magnitude. Habitual intakes of RPM showed wide dispersion with one-quarter of males < 55 g day−1 and one-quarter of females < 27 g day−1. Lowering overall RPM consumption could be achieved by seeking greater reductions among current high consumers.