Red meat consumption and risk of heart failure in male physicians

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 Dec;21(12):941-6. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Aug 2.


Background and aims: Heart failure (HF) remains a major public health issue. Red meat and dietary heme iron have been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and hypertension, two major risk factors for HF. However, it is not known whether red meat intake influences the risk of HF. We therefore examined the association between red meat consumption and incident HF.

Methods and results: We prospectively studied 21,120 apparently healthy men (mean age 54.6 y) from the Physicians' Health Study (1982-2008). Red meat was assessed by an abbreviated food questionnaire and incident HF was ascertained through annual follow-up questionnaires. We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate hazard ratios. In a multivariable model, there was a positive and graded relation between red meat consumption and HF [hazard ratio (95% CI) of 1.0 (reference), 1.02 (0.85-1.22), 1.08 (0.90-1.30), 1.17 (0.97-1.41), and 1.24 (1.03-1.48) from the lowest to the highest quintile of red meat, respectively (p for trend 0.007)]. This association was observed for HF with (p for trend 0.035) and without (p for trend 0.038) antecedent myocardial infarction.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that higher intake of red meat is associated with an increased risk of HF.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure / etiology*
  • Heme / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Iron, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Meat / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Physicians*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dietary Fats
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Heme