Media Room

For Immediate Release

Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll - Fewer Americans Eating Meat, Citing Health Concerns

Recent Link between Processed Meats and Cancer Scares Some Consumers

Ann Arbor, MI, Feb. 27, 2016 — One third of Americans eat less meat now than they did three years ago, according to the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll.

Truven Health Analytics™ and NPR conduct a bimonthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues.

The latest survey asked respondents for their opinions and habits on meat consumption. For comparison, these questions were identical to those asked in a similar poll in 2012. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they eat less meat than they did three years ago. Thirty percent say they have changed their eating habits specifically because of recent news about a link between processed meats and cancer.

Overall, 60 percent cite health as their primary reason for altering their diet, down from 66 percent in 2012. The cost of meat (52 percent) was the next most common reason, which reflected a rise from 47 percent three years ago. Twenty-nine percent said they have environmental concerns, a rate that stayed flat, and 25 percent are worried about animal welfare, which dropped from 30 percent in 2012.

A majority of respondents (51 percent) still indicated they eat meat between one and four times per week, but that figure is down from 56 percent. Slightly more Americans said they eat meat five or more times per week: 38 percent compared with 31 percent in 2012. The four percent of respondents who said they do not eat meat reflected roughly the same amount as three years ago.

When respondents were asked if they would like to decrease their meat consumption in the future, 33 percent said yes. That reflects a slight rise from 2012 (30 percent). Respondents ages 65 and up (82 percent), and respondents who were members of the Silent Generation (86 percent) most frequently answered that they did not want to cut their meat consumption.

“It is clear from these data that a new generation of Americans is rethinking diet in light of concerns about health and the rising cost of meat. But for respondents in the over 65 age range and in the Silent Generation, it seems old habits die hard, ” said Michael Taylor, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Truven Health Analytics. “It will be interesting to see how Americans replace meat in their dietary habits, and if they will lean more heavily on plant-based nutrition.”

To date, the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll has explored numerous health topics, including generic drugs, vaccines, data privacy, narcotic painkillers and sports-related concussions. NPR's reports on the surveys are archived online at the Shots health blog here.

Truven Health maintains a library of poll results here.

The Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll is powered by the Truven Health PULSE® Healthcare Survey, the nation’s largest and longest-running independently funded, nationally representative multi- modal poll that collects information about health-related behaviors and attitudes and healthcare utilization from 82, 000 US households annually. Survey questions are developed in conjunction with NPR. The figures in this month's poll are based on 3, 008 participants interviewed from December 1-15, 2015. The 2012 results are based on 2, 007 survey participants interviewed from March 1-13, 2012. The margins of error for both sets of results is 1.8 percent.

About NPR NPR is an award-winning, multimedia news organization and an influential force in American life. In collaboration with more than 900 independent public radio stations nationwide, NPR strives to create a more informed public - one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.

About Truven Health Analytics, part of the IBM Watson Health Business

Truven Health Analytics®, part of the IBM Watson Health™ business, provides market-leading performance improvement solutions built on data integrity, advanced analytics and domain expertise. For more than 40 years, our insights and solutions have been providing hospitals and clinicians, employers and health plans, state and federal government agencies, life sciences companies and policymakers, the facts they need to make confident decisions that directly affect the health and well-being of people and organizations in the US and around the world. The company was acquired by IBM in 2016 to help form a new business, Watson Health. Watson Health aspires to improve lives and give hope by delivering innovation to address the world’s most pressing health challenges through data and cognitive insights.

Truven Health Analytics owns some of the most trusted brands in healthcare, such as MarketScan®, 100 Top Hospitals®, Advantage Suite®, Micromedex®, Simpler® and ActionOI®. Truven Health has its principal offices in Ann Arbor, MI, Chicago, IL, and Denver, CO.


Brian Erni
For Truven Health Analytics
J. Roderick, Inc. Public Relations