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A critical examination of the available data sources for estimating meat and protein consumption in the USA

  • Keri Szejda Fehrenbach (a1), Allison C Righter (a2) and Raychel E Santo (a2)

Abstract

Objective

To describe the methods, strengths and limitations of available data sources for estimating US meat and protein consumption in order to facilitate accurate interpretations and applications.

Design

We examined agricultural supply and dietary intake databases from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the US Department of Health and Human Services and the FAO to describe their methodology and to report the most recent estimates for meat and protein consumption.

Results

Together, loss-adjusted agricultural supply data and dietary recall data provide the best available estimates of US consumption; the most recent sources indicated that US citizens (ages 2 years and over) consume 4·4–5·9 oz (125·9–166·5 g) of total meat and 6·2–7·4 oz-eq (175·2–209·4 g-eq) from the USDA Protein Foods Group per day. Meat constitutes the majority of intake within the Protein Foods Group, and red meat and processed meat constitute the majority of total meat intake. Nutrient supply data indicate that total meat represents an estimated 43·1 % of the total protein available in the US food supply, but without any loss-adjusted nutrient data, per capita protein intake is best estimated by dietary recall data to be 79·9 g/d.

Conclusions

In order to address public health concerns related to excess meat and/or protein consumption, practitioners, educators and researchers must appropriately use available data sources in order to accurately report consumption at the population level. Implications for comparing these estimates with various recommended intakes are discussed.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email keri.fehrenbach@asu.edu

References

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