Red meat consumption and cardiovascular target organ damage (from the Strong Heart Study)

J Hypertens. 2017 Sep;35(9):1794-1800. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001385.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether red meat consumption is related to changes in left ventricular mass (LVM), left atrial diameter and carotid atherosclerosis in American Indians.

Methods: We prospectively analyzed echocardiographic and carotid ultrasound data of 1090 adults aged 40 years and older enrolled in the Strong Heart Family Study who were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline - 535 (49%) were hypertensive and 555 (51%) participants were nonhypertensive. Processed and unprocessed red meat intake was ascertained by using a Block food-frequency questionnaire at baseline. Cardiac and vascular biomarkers were assessed at baseline and 4 years later. Marginal models with multivariate adjustment were used to assess the associations of red meat intake with LVM, left atrial diameter, intima-media thickness and presence and extent of carotid atherosclerosis.

Results: Participants with hypertension were older, had a higher BMI, were more likely to be diabetic and less physically active. Processed and unprocessed red meat consumption was related to an increase in the presence of atherosclerotic plaques in male and female hypertensive individuals. In male hypertensive participants, processed meat intake was further observed to be associated with an increase in intima-media thickness, atrial diameter but not LVM. In nonhypertensive participants, neither unprocessed nor processed red meat intake was associated with changes in cardiac parameters or carotid atherosclerosis.

Conclusion: Over a 4-year period, red meat consumption was related to cardiovascular target organ damage in hypertensive American Indians. These findings emphasize the importance of dietary measures for cardiovascular disease prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Hypertension* / physiopathology
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Red Meat*