Original Article

International Journal of Obesity (2009) 33, 621–628; doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.45; published online 24 March 2009

Meat consumption is associated with obesity and central obesity among US adults

Y Wang1 and M A Beydoun1

1Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

Correspondence: Professor Y Wang, Department of International Health, Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD, USA. E-mail: ywang@jhsph.edu

Received 5 August 2008; Revised 4 February 2009; Accepted 5 February 2009; Published online 24 March 2009.





Meats are high in energy and fat content, and thus may be associated with higher risk of obesity. Many controversies remain regarding the association between meat consumption (MC) and obesity.



The aim of this study was to analyze the associations between MC and obesity assessed using body mass index (BMIgreater than or equal to30) and waist circumference (greater than or equal to102cm in men and greater than or equal to88cm in women) among US adults.



Nationally representative data collected in the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were used. Linear and logistic regression analyses were conducted to test the associations between MC and adiposity measures controlling for potential confounders.



Considerable differences existed in MC across sociodemographic groups among US adults. Those who consumed more meat had a much higher daily total energy intake, for example, those in the upper vs bottom quintiles consumed around 700 more kcalday−1 (P<0.05). Regression models showed consistent positive associations between MC and BMI, waist circumference, obesity and central obesity, respectively. Using quintile 1 (low MC) as the reference, the association (odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI)) between total MC quintiles and obesity were 1.03 (0.88; 1.21; 2nd quintile), 1.17 (1.00; 1.38), 1.27 (1.08; 1.51) and 1.27 (1.08; 1.49;upper quintile), respectively; whereas that with central obesity was 1.13 (0.96–1.33), 1.31 (1.10; 1.54), 1.36 (1.17–1.60) and 1.33 (1.13; 1.55), respectively.



These US national cross-sectional data show positive associations between MC and risk for obesity and central obesity.


dietary intake, meat consumption, central obesity, body mass index, waist circumference, NHANES

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