Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption

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From 2017 to 2018, people aged 2 years and older consumed, on average, 1.4 ounces of red meat per 1,000 calories.

Summary graph for Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption, Click to see detailed view of graph

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Background

Red meat is associated with an increased risk of colon and rectum cancer, and evidence also suggests it is associated with some other cancers, such as prostate and pancreatic cancer. Examples of red meat include beef, pork, and lamb.

Processed meats are products that have been preserved by smoking, curing, salting, and/or the addition of chemical preservatives. Examples of processed meat include hot dogs, sausages, bacon, and luncheon meats. Processed meat is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, and evidence also suggests it is associated with stomach cancer.

However, more research is needed to understand how red meat and processed meats influence cancer risk. The increased risk may be explained by the iron and fat content in red meat, and/or the salt and nitrates/nitrites in processed meat. Additionally, when meat is cooked at high temperatures, substances are formed that may cause cancer.

Measure

Average daily ounce equivalents of red meat and processed meat per 1000 calories for people aged 2 years and older.

The method used to estimate total red meat intake in the U.S. population was automated beginning with NHANES 2007-2008. Organ meats were excluded when the method was automated, based on the definition of red meat in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Organ meat intake in the U.S. population is low and therefore did not meaningfully influence total red meat intake estimates when excluded.

Healthy People 2030 Target

  • There is no Healthy People 2020 target for red meat and processed meat consumption.

Healthy People 2030 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Data Source

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Food Surveys Research Group (Beltsville, MD). Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals 1994-96, 1998

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2018.

Trends and Most Recent EstimatesHelp with navigating the graphs and data tables

Red Meat

By Sex
Average ounces of red meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by sex, 1994-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Average ounces of red meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by sex, 1994-2018 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 1.4 1.4 - 1.5
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 1.6 1.5 - 1.6
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 1.3 1.2 - 1.4
By Race/Ethnicity
Average ounces of red meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by race/ethnicity, 1994-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Average ounces of red meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by race/ethnicity, 1994-2018 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 1.4 1.4 - 1.5
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 1.5 1.3 - 1.6
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 1.4 1.3 - 1.4
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 1.5 1.4 - 1.6
By Poverty Income Level
Average ounces of red meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by poverty income level, 1994-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Average ounces of red meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by poverty income level, 1994-2018 <200% of Federal Poverty LevelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of Federal Poverty Level 1.5 1.4 - 1.5
>=200% of Federal Poverty LevelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of Federal Poverty Level 1.5 1.3 - 1.6

Processed Meat

By Sex
Average ounces of processed meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by sex, 2005-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Average ounces of processed meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by sex, 2005-2018 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 0.4 0.4 - 0.5
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 0.5 0.5 - 0.6
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 0.4 0.3 - 0.4
By Race/Ethnicity
Average ounces of processed meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by race/ethnicity, 2005-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Average ounces of processed meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by race/ethnicity, 2005-2018 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 0.4 0.4 - 0.5
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 0.5 0.4 - 0.6
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 0.5 0.4 - 0.6
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 0.3 0.3 - 0.4
By Poverty Income Level
Average ounces of processed meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by poverty income level, 2005-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Average ounces of processed meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by poverty income level, 2005-2018 <200% of Federal Poverty LevelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of Federal Poverty Level 0.4 0.4 - 0.5
>=200% of Federal Poverty LevelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of Federal Poverty Level 0.5 0.4 - 0.5

Additional Information on Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption

Year Range

1994-2018

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2013-2018

Summary Tables

Diet

Recent Summary Trend

Rising

Desired Direction

Falling