Processed and unprocessed red meat consumption and hypertension in women


Martin Lajous,  Anne Bijon,  Guy Fagherazzi,  Emilie Rossignol,  Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault, and  Françoise Clavel-Chapelon   + Author Affiliations

1From the Center for Research on Population Health, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, México (ML); the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA (ML); the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Unit 1018, Villejuif, France (ML, AB, GF, ER, M-CB-R, and FC-C); and the Paris-South University, Unité Mixte de Recherche et de Service 1018, Villejuif, France (AB, GF, ER, M-CB-R, and FC-C).  

+ Author Notes

↵2 The Etude Epidémiologique auprès des femmes de la Mutuelle Générale de l'Education Nationale cohort was performed with the financial support of the Mutuelle Générale de l'Education Nationale, the European Community, the French League against Cancer, the Gustave Roussy Institute, and the French Institute of Health and Medical Research. The validation of potential diabetes cases was supported by the European Union (Integrated Project LSHM-CT-2006-037197 in the Framework Program 6 of the European Community) InterAct project. The current analysis was conducted with support from the International Associated Laboratory in Nutrition, Hormones and Chronic Disease in Women, which is an ongoing collaboration between the National Institutes of Health and Medical Research (France) and the National Institute of Public Health (Mexico).

↵3 Address reprint requests and correspondence to F Clavel-Chapelon, Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale U1018, Team 9, Nutrition, Hormones and Women's Health, Institut Gustave Roussy, 114 Rue Edouard Vaillant, 94805 Villejuif Cedex, France. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Background: High processed red meat consumption is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The high sodium content of processed red meat could increase blood pressure and explain the association with cardiovascular disease.

Objective: We evaluated the relation between the consumption of unprocessed and processed red meat and incident hypertension.


Design: In a prospective cohort of 44,616 disease-free French women who responded to a validated dietary questionnaire, we observed 10,256 incident cases of hypertension between 1993 and 2008. Cases were identified through self-reports of diagnosed or treated hypertension. Multivariate Cox regression models were adjusted for age, education, smoking, physical activity, body mass index, menopause, menopausal hormone therapy, and alcohol, bread, coffee, and fruit and vegetable consumption.

Results: Women who consumed ≥5 servings of processed red meat/wk (50 g = 1 serving) had a 17% higher rate of hypertension than that of women who consumed <1 serving/wk (HR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.26; P-trend = 0.0002). No association was observed between unprocessed red meat consumption and hypertension. When women who consumed ≥5 servings of unprocessed red meat/wk (100 g = 1 serving) with women who consumed <1 serving unprocessed red meat/wk, the multivariate HR was 0.99 (95% CI: 0.91, 1.08; P-trend = 0.63).

Conclusions: In this large prospective cohort of French women, we observed an association between the consumption of processed red meat and hypertension. We observed no association for unprocessed red meat consumption and hypertension.

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