Australians are exceeding population recommendations for meat intakes

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Birrell et al., JHND Early View unknown

Introduction

Global public health recommendations advise limiting the intake of red and processed meats. There is a need for more comprehensive information on meat consumption in Australia, specifically usual intake of meat from a nationally representative sample. The aim of this study was to use the National Cancer Institute (NCI) method to examine usual meat intakes in the 2011–12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS).

Methods

This was a secondary analysis of the cross‐sectional 2011–12 NNPAS, which contains observations for 12 153 respondents (9341 adults and 2812 children/adolescents). Usual consumption of all meat, red and processed meats was calculated using the NCI method. Consumption of meat was explored by age and gender groups, as well as by household type.

Results

Amongst adults and children/adolescents, consumption of all meat was significantly higher in males (adults: 187.1 g day−1; children/adolescents: 125.0 g day−1) than females (adults: 125.5 g day−1; children/adolescents: 95.4 g day−1). Similar patterns were observed for red (males: adults 85.5 g day−1, children/adolescents 42.9 g day−1; females: adults 57.1 g day−1, children/adolescents 34.9 g day−1) and processed meat, although intakes of processed meats in children and adolescents (males: 26.5 g day−1; females: 16.8 g day−1) were found to be similar to those of adults aged ≥19 years (males: 28.3 g day−1; females: 15.3 g day−1). Patterns of meat consumption across household types appeared to differ between genders.

Conclusions

The present study suggests that Australians are likely to be exceeding population recommendations for meat intakes, with differing patterns observed across gender and household types. These findings highlight a need for targeted dietetic and population strategies aimed at promoting a healthy consumption of meats within the Australian population.

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