Consumer Perceptions of the Publicised Link between Cancer and Eating Red and Processed Meat: A Qualitative and Quantitative Study
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Background – Eating a diet high in red and processed meat has been found to be attributable to an increased risk of some cancers. The aim of the present study was to investigate consumer intakes, beliefs and perceptions of red and processed meat in relation to the cancer risk. Methods – A cross-sectional self-administered online questionnaire, including quantitative and qualitative questions, was completed by participants recruited from the UK adult population. Results – The study was completed by n=40 participants. The greatest number of participants felt that limiting their intake of red and processed meat would be not really (n=18) or not at all (n=12) difficult. Qualitative analysis revealed that some participants would find it difficult to limit their intake because of taste, household diet and social norms. Just over 50% of participants (n=21) agreed in some way that cancer risks of red and processed meat were a greater concern to them now than in the past. Conclusions – The present study suggests beliefs that limiting red and processed meat intake would not be difficult. However, barriers to change exist surrounding red and processed meat as a staple in the UK diet. The results highlight that more could be done to raise awareness of the cancer risk associated with red and processed meat, which might encourage reduced intakes within the recommended maximum amount. Further research in this area could help to implement future interventions to increase knowledge and awareness of the cancer risk associated with high red and processed meat consumption.
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