Meat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: the Multiethnic Cohort

Public Health Nutr. 2011 Apr;14(4):568-74. doi: 10.1017/S1368980010002004. Epub 2010 Jul 13.


Objective: To examine the association of meat consumption with diabetes risk in the Hawaii component of the Multiethnic Cohort and to assess effect modification by ethnicity.

Design: A prospective cohort study. Baseline information on diet and lifestyle was assessed by questionnaire. The cohort was followed up for incident cases of diabetes, which were identified through self-reports, medication questionnaires, or health plan linkages. Cox regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals for diabetes associated with quintile of meat consumption.

Setting: Hawaii, USA.

Subjects: A total of 29,759 Caucasian, 35,244 Japanese-American and 10,509 Native Hawaiian men and women, aged 45-75 years at baseline.

Results: During a mean follow-up time of 14 years, 8587 incident diabetes cases were identified. Intake of red meat was positively associated with diabetes risk in men (fifth v. first quintile: HR=1.43; 95% CI 1.29, 1.59) and women (fifth v. first quintile: HR=1.30; 95% CI 1.17, 1.45) in adjusted models. The respective HR for processed red meat intake were 1.57 (95% CI 1.42, 1.75) and 1.45 (95% CI 1.30, 1.62). The association for processed poultry was weaker than for processed red meat, and fresh poultry intake was not associated with diabetes risk. For men only, we observed significant interactions of ethnicity with the red and processed red meat associations, with Caucasians experiencing slightly higher risks than Japanese-Americans.

Conclusions: Our findings support the growing evidence that red and processed meat intake increase risk for diabetes irrespective of ethnicity and level of BMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asian / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diet
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hawaii / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Male
  • Meat*
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • White People / statistics & numerical data