March 24, 2009

Early Death Attributed to High Diet of Red Meat

Chris Stevens

Chris Stevens

Communications Director

Center for a Livable Future

A new study has found that high intakes of red or processed meat may increase the risk of mortality. The research, just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, examined more than a half-million middle-aged and elderly Americans and found those who consumed four ounces of red meat a day were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10-year length of the study.

According to an article in today’s Washington Post, researchers analyzed data from 545,653 predominantly white volunteers, ages 50 to 71, participating in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. In 1995, the subjects filled out detailed questionnaires about their diets, including meat consumption. Over the next 10 years, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died.

And the implications of a high-meat diet go beyond human mortality. “There is a global tsunami brewing, namely, we are seeing the confluence of growing constraints on water, energy, and food supplies combined with the rapid shift toward greater consumption of all animal source foods,” said Barry M. Popkin, a professor of global nutrition at the University of North Carolina, whose editorial is published with the study.

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