Public Health Nutrition

Monitoring and surveillance

Meat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: the Multiethnic Cohort

A Steinbrechera1, E Erbera1, A Grandinettia2, LN Kolonela1 and G Maskarineca1 c1

a1 Cancer Research Center, University of Hawaii, 1236 Lauhala Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA

a2 John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA


Objective To examine the association of meat consumption with diabetes risk in the Hawaii component of the Multiethnic Cohort and to assess effect modification by ethnicity.

Design A prospective cohort study. Baseline information on diet and lifestyle was assessed by questionnaire. The cohort was followed up for incident cases of diabetes, which were identified through self-reports, medication questionnaires, or health plan linkages. Cox regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % confidence intervals for diabetes associated with quintile of meat consumption.

Setting Hawaii, USA.

Subjects A total of 29 759 Caucasian, 35 244 Japanese-American and 10 509 Native Hawaiian men and women, aged 45–75 years at baseline.

Results During a mean follow-up time of 14 years, 8587 incident diabetes cases were identified. Intake of red meat was positively associated with diabetes risk in men (fifth v. first quintile: HR = 1·43; 95 % CI 1·29, 1·59) and women (fifth v. first quintile: HR = 1·30; 95 % CI 1·17, 1·45) in adjusted models. The respective HR for processed red meat intake were 1·57 (95 % CI 1·42, 1·75) and 1·45 (95 % CI 1·30, 1·62). The association for processed poultry was weaker than for processed red meat, and fresh poultry intake was not associated with diabetes risk. For men only, we observed significant interactions of ethnicity with the red and processed red meat associations, with Caucasians experiencing slightly higher risks than Japanese-Americans.

Conclusions Our findings support the growing evidence that red and processed meat intake increase risk for diabetes irrespective of ethnicity and level of BMI.

(Received March 20 2010)

(Accepted June 01 2010)

(Online publication July 13 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email