The impact of meat consumption on high blood pressure (HBP) and obesity in children and adolescents is a subject of debate. The aim of this study was thus to evaluate the association between meat consumption and both HBP and obesity in this group.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis using nationally representative samples of children and adolescents aged 9, 12, and 15 years old (n = 136,739) who were included in the Korea School Health Examination Survey (KSHES) for the 2011-2015 period. Multiple linear and logistic regression analysis was used to determine the factors influencing systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and body mass index (BMI, kg/m(2)) levels, and to test the strength of these relationships.
Adjusted for covariates, 6.3% of those subjects who consumed >5 servings of meat (including beef, pork, and chicken) per week were obese, compared with 9.1% of the subjects who consumed <1 serving of meat/wk (obesity adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.21-1.70; P ≤0.001). Those who consumed <1 serving of meat/wk had an HBP prevalence of 8.2%, compared with 7.2% for subjects who consumed >5 servings of meat/wk (systolic HBP adjusted OR: 1.30; 95% CI: 1.05-1.62; P ≤0.01, diastolic HBP adjusted OR: 1.25; 95% CI: 1.02-1.54; P <0.05). Obese subjects were estimated to have a higher SBP (β = 7.497, P < 0.001) and DBP (β = 4.123, P <0.001) than subjects who had no excess weight. Compared to subjects who consumed >5 servings of meat/wk, those who consumed <3 servings of meat/wk had a higher SBP (β = 0.574, P <0.001) and DBP (β = 0.376, P = 0.003) after adjusting for BMI. The intake of milk, fruit, and vegetables was not associated with either SBP or DBP (P >0.05). In contrast, BMI was significantly associated with milk, fruits, and vegetables (P <0.01).
Among children and adolescents, a higher level of meat consumption was associated with lower SBP, DBP, and BMI, and greater height, suggesting that consuming an appropriate amount of meat is important for healthy growth at a young age.