Red Meat Consumption

Last Updated:

On This Page:

From 2011 to 2012, people aged 2 years and older consumed, on average, 1.1 ounces of red meat per day.

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

See Graph Details

Introduction

Red meat and processed meat are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, and evidence also suggests their association with some other cancers, such as prostate cancer. Red meat refers to beef, pork, and lamb, although some studies include all processed meats (such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and cold cuts) in their definition, regardless of animal origin. Some research suggests that processed meat, but not fresh meat, may increase risk.

More research is needed to understand how these 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 for people aged 2 years and older. Red meat includes beef, lamb, and pork from all sources and does not include processed poultry.

Healthy People 2020 Target

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

Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Data Source

U.S. Department of Agriculture. What We Eat in America.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1994–2012.

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

By Sex

Average ounces of red meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by sex, 1994-2012
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2011 to 2012)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 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, 1994-2012 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 1.1 (1.0 - 1.1)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 1.2 (1.1 - 1.3)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 0.9 (0.8 - 1.0)

By Race/Ethnicity

Average ounces of red meat consumed per 1,000 calories by individuals aged 2 years and older by race/ethnicity, 1994-2012
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2011 to 2012)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 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, 1994-2012 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 1.1 (1.0 - 1.1)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 1.0 (0.9 - 1.2)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 1.1 (1.0 - 1.2)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 1.2 (1.0 - 1.3)

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, 1994-2012
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2011 to 2012)
Average ounces per 1,000 calories 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, 1994-2012 <200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of federal poverty level 1.1 (1.0 - 1.2)
>=200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of federal poverty level 1.0 (0.9 - 1.1)

Additional Information on Red Meat Consumption

For the public

For health professionals

Scientific reports

Statistics

Year Range

1994-2012

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2007-2012

Summary Tables

Diet

Recent Summary Trend

Stable

Desired Direction

Falling