Red meat and chicken consumption and its association with age-related macular degeneration

Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Apr 1;169(7):867-76. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwn393. Epub 2009 Feb 20.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older people, and diet has been postulated to alter risk of AMD. To evaluate associations between red meat and chicken intake and AMD, the authors conducted a cohort study of 6,734 persons aged 58-69 years in 1990-1994 in Melbourne, Australia. Meat intake was estimated from a food frequency questionnaire at baseline. At follow-up (2003-2006), bilateral digital macular photographs were taken and evaluated for AMD (1,680 cases of early AMD, 77 cases of late AMD). Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios, adjusted for age, smoking, and other potential confounders. Higher red meat intake was positively associated with early AMD; the odds ratio for consumption of red meat > or =10 times/week versus <5 times/week was 1.47 (95% confidence interval: 1.21, 1.79; P-trend < 0.001). Similar trends toward increasing prevalence of early AMD were seen with higher intakes of fresh and processed red meat. Conversely, consumption of chicken > or =3.5 times/week versus <1.5 times/week was inversely associated with late AMD (odds ratio = 0.43, 95% confidence interval: 0.20, 0.91; P-trend = 0.007). These results suggest that different meats may differently affect AMD risk and may be a target for lifestyle modification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chickens
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology*
  • Meat / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sheep
  • Sus scrofa