Consumption of processed meat increases the incidence of hypertension: ELSA-Brazil cohort
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Federal University of Ouro Preto, Brazil
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1554
Background and Objective:
Hypertension is a public health problem that increases morbidity and mortality and reduces quality of life. There is evidence of an association between hypertension and consumption of red and processed meat. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between the consumption of red and processed meat and the occurrence of new cases of hypertension in participants of the Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brazil).

Cohort study with 15 105 civil servants (age: 35 to 74 years). Biochemical, anthropometric, socioeconomic, and lifestyle data were collected at baseline (2008–2010) and second wave (2012–2014). Meat consumption (g/day) was estimated using a food frequency questionnaire. To categorize low, medium and high consumption, the independent variables (red meat and processed meat) were divided into tertiles. Hypertension was defined as systolic BP ≥140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP ≥90 mmHg. Stata software was used and a P<0.05 was adopted. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate adjusted HRs and 95% CIs for the incidence of hypertension.

Participants with medium and high consumption of red and processed meat had a lower mean age, lower education level and lower per capita income. We identified 1189 new cases of hypertension, corresponding to an overall incidence rate of 38.2 per 1000 person-years. Medium and high consumption of processed meat increases the risk of developing high blood pressure by 1.3 times (95% CI: 1.11-1.53).

The consumption of red meat did not have a negative impact on the health of the participants, however the consumption of processed meat at a moderate and high level increases the risk of hypertension and should be discouraged.