Meat consumption and risk of 25 common conditions: outcome-wide analyses in 475,000 men and women in the UK Biobank study
Papier K., Fensom G., Knuppel A., Appleby P., Tong TYN., Schmidt J., Travis R., Key T., Perez-Cornago A.
Background There is limited prospective evidence on the association between meat consumption and many common, non-cancerous health outcomes. We examined associations of meat intake with risk of 25 common conditions (other than cancer). Methods We used data from 474 998 middle-aged men and women recruited into the UK Biobank study between 2006 and 2010 and followed-up until 2017 (mean follow-up of 8.0 years) with available information on meat intake at baseline (collected via touchscreen questionnaire), and linked hospital admissions and mortality data. For a large sub-sample, dietary intakes were re-measured using an online, 24-hour questionnaire. Results In multi-variable adjusted (including body mass index (BMI)) Cox regression models corrected for multiple testing, a higher consumption of red and processed meat combined was associated with higher risks of ischaemic heart disease (HR per 70 g/day higher intake 1.14, 95% CI 1.06-1.22), pneumonia (1.28,1.15-1.41), diverticular disease (1.18,1.10-1.26), colon polyps (1.09,1.04-1.13), and diabetes (1.29,1.19-1.40), and a lower risk of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), driven by a higher consumption of red meat (HR per 50g/day higher intake 0.77,0.69-0.86). Higher poultry meat intake was associated with higher risks of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (HR per 30g/day higher intake 1.14, 1.06-1.23), gastritis and duodenitis (1.10,1.04-1.16), diverticular disease (1.09,1.04-1.16), and diabetes (1.13,1.06-1.20), and a lower risk of IDA (0.80,0.73-0.87). Conclusions Higher red, processed, and poultry meat consumption was associated with higher risks of several common conditions; higher BMI accounted for a substantial proportion of these increased risks. Higher red and poultry meat consumption was associated with lower IDA risk.