Objective: Previous studies have not examined potential interactions between meat intake and characteristics of the local environment on the risk of mortality. This study examined the impact of area socioeconomic deprivation on the association between meat intake and all-cause and cause-specific mortality after accounting for individual-level risk factors.
Methods: In the prospective NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, we analyzed data from adults, ages 50-71 years at baseline (1995-1996). Individual-level dietary intake and health risk information were linked to the demographic and socioeconomic context of participants' local environment based on census tract data. Deaths (n = 33,831) were identified through December 2005. Multilevel Cox models were used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for quintiles of area deprivation scores.
Results: Associations of red and processed meats with mortality were consistent across deprivation quintiles. Men residing in least-deprived neighborhoods had a stronger protective effect for white meat consumption. No differences by deprivation index were observed for women.
Conclusion: Red and processed meat intake increases mortality risk regardless of level of deprivation within a given neighborhood suggesting biological mechanisms rather than neighborhood contextual factors may underlie these meat-mortality associations. The effect of white meat intake on cancer mortality was modified by area deprivation among men.