Public Health Nutrition

Monitoring and surveillance

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

Youfa Wanga1a2 c1, May A Beydouna1a3, Benjamin Caballeroa1, Tiffany L Garya2 and Robert Lawrencea4

a1 Department of International Health, Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

a2 Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

a3 National Institute on Aging, NIH/IRP, USA

a4 Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA


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

Design 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.

Results 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.

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

(Received February 25 2009)

(Accepted January 13 2010)

(Online publication March 01 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email