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Trends and correlates in meat consumption patterns in the US adult population

  • Youfa Wang (a1) (a2), May A Beydoun (a1) (a3), Benjamin Caballero (a1), Tiffany L Gary (a2) and Robert Lawrence (a4)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2010

Few studies have examined recent shifts in meat consumption (MC), differences among US population groups, and the influence of psychosocial–behavioural factors.


Nationally representative data collected for US adults aged ≥18 years in the 1988–1994 and 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the 1994–1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII) and Diet and Health Knowledge Survey (DHKS) were used.


We found a U-shaped trend in MC, a decrease between 1988–1994 and 1994–1996, and an increase from 1994–1996 to 1999–2004. NHANES 1988–1994 and 1999–2004 indicate that MC did not change significantly, particularly for all meat, red meat, poultry and seafood. Between 1994–1996 and 1999–2004, average MC, including red meat, poultry, seafood and other meat products, increased in men. Women’s total MC decreased, mainly due to decreased red meat and other meat products, except for increased seafood. Noticeable differences existed in the changes across population groups. Black men had the largest increase in consumption of total meat, poultry and seafood; Mexican American men had the smallest increase in poultry, seafood and other meat products. In 1999–2004, ethnic differences in MC became greater in women than among women in 1994–1996. Associations between MC and energy intake changed over time. Perceived benefit of dietary quality and food label use were associated with reduced red MC.


Noticeable differences exist in the shifts in MC across population groups and surveys. MC increased in men but decreased in women in recent years.

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