Wed, Mar 25, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Red meat raises health risks: US study

AP , CHICAGO

The largest study of its kind finds that older people who eat large amounts of red meat and processed meats face a greater risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

The US federal study of more than half a million American men and women bolsters prior evidence of the health risks of diets laden with red meat like hamburger and processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and cold cuts.

Calling the increased risk modest, lead author Rashmi Sinha, of the National Cancer Institute, said the findings support the advice of several health groups to limit red and processed meat intake to decrease cancer risk.

The findings appear in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine.

Over 10 years, eating the equivalent of a quarter-pound (113g) hamburger daily gave men in the study a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That’s compared to those who ate just 5 ounces (141g) per week.

Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less.

For processed meats, the increased risks for large quantities were slightly lower overall than for red meat. People whose diets contained more white meat like chicken and fish had lower risks of death.

The researchers surveyed more than 545,000 people, ages 50 to 71, then followed them for 10 years.

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