To provide information about meat consumption and factors that explain differences among subpopulations, and to evaluate how knowledge and attitudes about nutrition and awareness of diet and health influence meat consumption.


The 1994–1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals provided two nonconsecutive 24-hour recalls. The Diet and Health Knowledge Survey was administered at least 1 week after the last 24-hour recall. Meat subgroups (chicken, beef, pork, and processed pork products) were calculated from Food Guide Pyramid meat groups by using recipe ingredients.


The study sample included 4,802 children and 9,460 adults from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and 5,649 adults from the Diet and Health Knowledge Survey.


Weighted percentages and means described the food intake and self-assessed dietary characteristics. Relationships among types of meat intake, dietary characteristics, and demographics were evaluated using a two-stage, multivariate regression model.


Individuals in higher income households consumed relatively more chicken; those in low-income households consumed more processed pork products. Those consuming no beef and smaller amounts of chicken had the lowest discretionary fat intakes. Beef and pork consumers were more likely to think that their diets were too high in fat, but less likely to believe it is important to eat a low-fat diet. Region of residence affected the probability of consuming most meats. Having a high level of education was associated with a lower likelihood of consuming beef and pork.


Sociodemographic factors are strong predictors of the probability of choosing particular types of meat and of the amounts eaten. Knowledge and attitudes about diet and meat products also influence choices.

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