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Nutrition. 2003 Jan;19(1):7-10.

Characterization of meat consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in Cordoba, Argentina.

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Escuela de Nutrición, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina.



The Argentinean food pattern, rich in beef and fats and poor in fibers, may be related to an risk of increased colorectal cancer (CRC). To examine the relation between CRC risk and meat type, we carried out a case-control study in Córdoba, Argentina.


We interviewed 287 patients with colorectal adenocarcinomas and 566 control subjects admitted to the largest hospitals in greater Córdoba. Dietary habits were assessed by a food-frequency questionnaire, and different meat types were evaluated. Regression analyses determined the contribution of meat to total energy and macronutrients. Unconditional multiple logistic regression was performed to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Median intake of all meats, predominantly bovine, was high, reaching almost 300 g/d in men. Meats provided approximately 50% of total energy intake and 64% to 67% of total protein. Patients obtained significantly more cholesterol and total lipids from meats than did controls. Consumption of total meat, red meat, and other types of meat were not related to increased risk of CRC. However, an increased risk of CRC was found for those consuming relatively large amounts of cold cuts and sausages (OR, 1.47; CI, 1.02-2.15) and bovine viscera (OR, 1.73; CI, 1.18-2.54). Lean beef was associated with a decreased risk of CRC at the second (OR, 0.64; CI, 0.43-0.94) and third (OR, 0.67; CI, 0.40-0.97) tertiles.


Red meat produced a different pattern of risk according to its fat content. Further studies should assess the possible role of cooking meat and other non-nutritional components.

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