Objective: To date, there have been few prospective cohort studies that have investigated the association between meat consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) in Asian countries. A large, population-based cohort study was conducted to assess the effect of the frequency of meat consumption on the risk of CRC in Korean adults.
Methods: The participants were Korean government employees, school faculty members, and their unemployed dependents, aged 30-80 years, who underwent health examinations between 1996 and 1997. In 2003, information on CRC incidence was obtained during the 6-7 year follow-up period. The final data analysis included 2,248,129 study subjects. The hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of the HR were estimated using the Cox proportional hazards regression model.
Results: During the follow-up period, CRC occurred in 4,501 men and 1,943 women (64.19 and 36.34 for age-standardized incidence rates per 100,000 person-years, respectively). In the total population, the estimated HRs and 95% CI for meat consumption of 2-3 times per week and more than 4 times per week compared with consumption of less than once per week were 1.06 (1.01-1.12) and 1.23 (1.13-1.35), respectively. In men only and women only groups, the HRs (95% CI) for consumption of more than 4 times per week compared with consumption of less than once per week were 1.13 (1.02-1.26) and 1.42 (1.21-1.66), respectively.
Conclusion: The present findings suggest that frequency of meat consumption is positively associated with the risk of CRC.