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Meat Eaters and Heart Health with Norrina Allen, PhD

An important finding detailed in a new Northwestern Medicine study warns of the role certain kinds of meat may play in increasing cardiovascular disease risk and premature death. Norrina Allen, PhD, led this research and shares details about the study.


Norrina Allen, PhD

"I think this study is novel in the size and the ability of our cohorts to be able to disentangle the association between meat and other foods within their diet."

—  Norrina Allen, PhD

  • Director, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Center for Epidemiology and Population Health
  • Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Division of Epidemiology and Pediatrics
  • Member of Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute

Episode Notes

Northwestern scientists are on a mission to understand why heart disease deaths are now on the rise in our country, after decades of progress and reduction of these deaths. Diet and lifestyle play a major role in cardiovascular health and so recent studies led by Norrina Allen, PhD, and Victor Zhong, PhD, have focused on how specific foods may impact risk.

Their 2019 study, published in JAMA, reported that adults who ate more eggs and dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause. A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has now found similar associations between red and processed meats and cardiovascular disease risk and death.

The study looked at pooled data on 29,615 U.S. racially and ethnically diverse adults from six prospective cohort studies for up to 31 years of follow-up and found:

  • For every two servings of processed meat that people consume per week, they had a 7% greater risk for heart disease and a 3% greater risk for mortality.
  • For unprocessed red meat, like steak and beef, they had a 3% greater risk for cardiovascular disease and a 3% greater risk for mortality overall.

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Continuing Medical Education Credit

Physicians who listen to this podcast may claim continuing medical education credit after listening to an episode of this program.

Target Audience

Academic/Research, Multiple specialties

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the research interests and initiatives of Feinberg faculty.
  2. Discuss new updates in clinical and translational research.
Accreditation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this Enduring Material for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure Statement

Norrina Allen, PhD, has nothing to disclose. Course director, Robert Rosa, MD, has nothing to disclose. Planning committee member, Erin Spain, has nothing to disclose. Feinberg School of Medicine's CME Leadership and Staff have nothing to disclose: Clara J. Schroedl, MD, Medical Director of CME, Sheryl Corey, Manager of CME, Jennifer Banys, Senior Program Administrator, Allison McCollum, Senior Program Coordinator, and Rhea Alexis Banks, Administrative Assistant 2.

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