Effects of processed red meat consumption on the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among Korean adults: the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study

  • Jakyung Son
  • Yujin Lee
  • Kyong ParkEmail author
Original Contribution



Few studies have evaluated the effects of processed red meat (PRM) consumption on chronic disease risk, especially among low average PRM consumption populations. This study examined association between PRM intake and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidences in Korea.


Participants (n = 10,030; aged 40–69 years) were recruited from the Ansan–Ansung cohort study, a subset of Korean Genome Epidemiology Study. Validated 103-item semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire was used to assess dietary information, at baseline (2001–2002) and at second follow-up (2005–2006). T2DM and CVD incidences were identified using biennial questionnaire-based interview during a 10-year follow-up period. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to calculate multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Over the 10-year follow-up period, 668 and 493 incident cases of T2DM (62,130 person-years) and CVD (63,150 person-years), respectively, were documented. In crude models, comparing the highest and lowest levels of PRM intake, no significant association occurred with incident T2DM [HR, 95% CI (0.94, 0.76–1.17)], while significant association occurred with incident CVD (0.67, 0.51–0.88). However, in adjusted models, this association was no longer significant, showing HRs (95% CI) of PRM intake for T2DM and CVD of 1.07 (0.85–1.35) and 1.14 (0.85–1.55), respectively.


PRM intake did not affect T2DM and CVD incidences among Korean middle-aged adults, although extremely low average consumption of PRM may explain the finding. Therefore, limiting PRM intake may not be a top priority for the prevention of chronic diseases in Korean population.


Processed red meat Diabetes mellitus Cardiovascular disease Cohort study Korean 



Data in this study were from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (KoGES; 4851-302), National Research Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ministry for Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea. This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (Grant number: NRF-2017R1A1A3A04069759). The founding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to publish the results.

Author contributions

JS contributed to the writing original draft preparation, formal analysis, visualization, and software. JS, YL and KP contributed to the investigation, data curation, and writing the review and editing. KP contributed to the conceptualization, supervision, project administration, resources, funding acquisition, and validation. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (IRB number: KU-IRB-15-EX-256-A-1), and the research procedure for the second analysis was approved by the Yeungnam University IRB (7002016-E-2016-003).

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.

Supplementary material

394_2018_1799_MOESM1_ESM.docx (482 kb)
Online Resource 1: Hazard ratios for incidence type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases by potential modifiers (DOCX 481 KB)
394_2018_1799_MOESM2_ESM.docx (104 kb)
Online Resource 2: Overall disease-free survival by levels of processed red meat intake (DOCX 103 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food and NutritionYeungnam UniversityGyeongsanRepublic of Korea

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