A scoping review to assess what we know about the consumption of processed meat and chronic diseases in adult populations residing in high income countries located within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)


  • Brittany Mountford-Tilley


Processed meat, Consumption, Chronic diseases, High income countries, HICs, Middle East and North Africa, MENA, Scoping review


Background: Processed meats are meats that undergo treatment to improve the shelf-life and taste of the product. Consumption of processed meat has increased worldwide, with more economically developed countries consuming higher levels. The MENA region of the world is increasingly becoming more developed, with their gross domestic product (GPD) rising rapidly. Alongside the rise in GDP, processed meat consumption has also been increasing, with the region experiencing a nutrition transition. With an increase in processed meat consumption comes an increase in chronic disease, and research shows that consumption of processed meat can be linked to an increased risk of various chronic diseases. However, many professionals believe that more research is needed on the topic, as results are often contradictory. The aim of this study is to conduct a scoping review on extant literature pertaining to processed meat consumption and levels of chronic diseases in adult populations residing in high income countries located within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Methods: A scoping review of studies conducted between 2010-2021 based on processed meat consumption and any chronic diseases of adults within HICs in the MENA region was carried out using seven databases. The scoping review followed the Arksey and O’Malley framework, allowing for the research to be collated and summarised.

Results: After the searching and screening process, 8 studies remained and were included in the review. The following chronic diseases were focused on in the studies: chronic refractory cough (CRC), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), non-fatty liver disease (NAFLD and IR), dysglycemia and common mental disorder (CMD). Four of the studies found a positive relationship between processed meat consumption and chronic diseases, two found no association, and two had inconclusive results.

Conclusions: However, the small sample size has meant that clear conclusions on the topic cannot be drawn. Overall, more primary studies must be conducted on the topic in order to completely understand whether there is a relationship between increased intake of processed meat consumption and risk of chronic diseases.