Long-term processed and unprocessed red meat consumption and risk of heart failure: A prospective cohort study of women

Int J Cardiol. 2015 Aug 15;193:42-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.05.044. Epub 2015 May 9.


Background: Epidemiologic studies of red meat consumption in relation to risk of heart failure (HF) are limited. We examined the associations between long-term unprocessed red meat and processed red meat consumption and incidence of HF in women.

Methods: The population-based prospective Swedish Mammography Cohort included 34,057 women, aged 48-83 years, with no history of HF or ischemic heart disease at baseline (in 1997). Meat consumption was assessed using a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in 1997 as well as FFQ administered in 1987-90. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: During a mean follow-up of 13.2 years, 2806 women were diagnosed with HF. Consumption of processed meat (FFQ 1997) was statistically significant positively associated with HF incidence. Women who consumed ≥ 50 g/day processed red meat compared to those who consumed < 25 g/day had a 1.23 (95% CI: 1.09-1.39, P-trend=0.003) higher risk of HF. Long-term high consumption of processed red meat (average from 1987 to 1997) ≥ 50 g/day in comparison to < 25 g/day was associated with HR: 1.30 (95% CI: 1.05-1.60, P-trend=0.002). Women who consistently consumed (in both 1987 and 1997) ≥ 50 g/day vs. < 25 g/day had a 1.78 (95% CI: 1.00-3.16) higher risk of HF. Consumption of unprocessed meat was not associated with increased risk of HF incidence.

Conclusions: Findings from this prospective study of women indicate that processed red meat, but not unprocessed red meat, consumption is associated with an increased risk of HF incidence.

Keywords: Heart failure; Processed meat; Prospective cohort study; Red meat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Meat / adverse effects*
  • Meat / statistics & numerical data
  • Meat Products / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors