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



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 (BMI30) and waist circumference (102 cm in men and 88 cm 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 kcal day−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.

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The study was supported in part by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, the US Department of Agriculture (2044–05322), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK/NIH, R01 DK63383), and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD/NIH, R03HD056073).

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Correspondence to Y Wang.

Appendix A

Appendix A

Table A1

Table a1 Associationa between meat consumption (100 g/day) and total energy intake (kcal/day)

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Wang, Y., Beydoun, M. Meat consumption is associated with obesity and central obesity among US adults. Int J Obes 33, 621–628 (2009).

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  • dietary intake
  • meat consumption
  • central obesity
  • body mass index
  • waist circumference

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