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Statement of the American Meat Institute Foundation on Study in Diabetes Care

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

A new study in Diabetes Care confirms what the meat and poultry industry and nutritionists have known for some time: a balanced diet and an active lifestyle are keys to good health.

The authors of this latest study have pointed out that more study is needed before wholesale dietary changes are made. Indeed, their study points to complexity of nutrition and health issues: a single food does not cause problems. Rather, a food may be associated with a lifestyle that can may be related to cause health problems - like sedentary lifestyles. High consumption of one particular food also may mean that other foods are being underconsumed.

In fact, the authors themselves point out those at the highest risk of diabetes had large body mass indexes, which may be a sign of an inactive lifestyle. The study's authors also concede that they did not collect data on what was other foods were consumed along with processed meats - like high fat side dishes. This is a significant omission.

It is imperative to remember that this study was epidemiological, meaning study participants were asked to recollect on three occasions over twelve years what they ate, drank, smoked and how much they exercised. Studies like these are often flawed by a phenomenon known as recall bias in which participants inaccurately recall foods consumed. It is well documented that people are prone to over recalling foods and beverages that they sense are "bad" due to negative reporting in the news media.

As the study's authors note, this issue deserves much more study. Additionally, an editorial in the same journal issue reinforces that the most prudent course of action is consumption of a balanced diet as detailed in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and an active lifestyle. The Dietary Guidelines affirm that lean meat and poultry can be a healthy part of a balanced diet.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI's members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the industry. Its affiliate, the AMI Foundation, is a separate 501(c)3 organization that conducts research, education and information projects for the industry.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs

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