The impact of red and processed meat consumption on cardiovascular disease risk in women

Nutrition. 2016 Mar;32(3):349-54. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2015.09.015. Epub 2015 Oct 28.


Objective: Recent studies suggest that red and processed meat consumption is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in Australian women. The aim of this study was to examine the association of red and processed meat consumption with CVD using the Framingham score.

Methods: Included in the analysis were two separate female cohorts, one from an Internet-based health survey (n = 13 509, age range 30-74) and the other from a longitudinal epidemiological study (n = 176, age range 65-74). Information was available on red and processed meat consumption, exercise, and all parameters required for calculation of the Framingham score. Binomial regression was used to examine the association within the Internet-based cohort, whereas Kruskal-Wallis H tests and a Mann-Whitney U test were employed for analysis of the data in the epidemiological study.

Results: Consumption of red and processed meat 3 to 4 times and >5 times per week was associated with Framingham scores 1.064 (P = 0.002) and 1.108 (P ≤ 0.001) times higher, respectively, compared with consuming <1 time per week (n = 13509). A similar pattern was observed in the more detailed cohort, where those in the highest quartile of processed meat consumption had a relative 28.5% increase in median Framingham scores compared with the lowest quartile, with a difference of 4.5 observed (P = 0.043). No relationship was observed when red meat was investigated exclusively.

Conclusion: The results of our analysis support an association between red and processed meat consumption and CVD risk in women and suggest that the association is stronger for processed meat alone.

Keywords: Australia; Cardiovascular disease; Framingham Risk Score; Processed meat; Red meat; Women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging*
  • Australia
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Meat Products / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Red Meat / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors