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Last update: May 2021

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Economie Publique

UMR Economie Publique


Pierre Levasseur (INRAE-SADAPT)

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

Pierre Levasseur (INRAE-SADAPT) will present “The association between meat consumption and body mass index varies according to the socioeconomic status in a representative sample of French adults”.


In a context of a growing advocacy for reducing meat consumption in Western countries, we test if populations with a low socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to replace meat by less healthy alternatives, which could reduce dietary quality and have negative effects on health outcomes such as weight gain. We performed multivariate linear regressions focusing on SES-specific trends in the association between meat consumption and BMI, and between the consumption of meat and the consumption of food groups other than meat. We focused on the French adult population using a nationally representative household survey on health and nutrition (n=1,300) collected in 2015. We found that among low-income households, one day less of meat consumption per month tended to be associated with a higher individual BMI (0.074±0.039 kg/m²) in significant contrast with the inverse association found in richer households (combining medium- and high-income groups). This income-based difference in the meat-BMI relationship was particularly strong in male, younger and rural adults. Low-income and higher-income households also had different eating habits associated with higher meat consumption: among low-income households, lower meat consumption was associated with higher consumption of ice cream and sorbet, while among higher income groups (>1 751 €/month), lower meat consumption was associated with lower consumption of high-fat and high-sugar food and beverage items, as well as cheese. Our study is the first to show that SES changes the relationship between the level of meat consumption and BMI in a nationally representative sample.