Diet, Life Expectancy, and Chronic Disease: Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists and Other Vegetarians

By Gary E. Fraser | Go to book overview
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10
Coronary Heart Disease Mortality
among British, German, and
Indian Vegetarians

Researchers have reported the results of three prospective studies and one retrospective study of non-Adventist vegetarians' dietary habits and the risk of CHD. The studies are smaller than the California Adventist studies, and the prospective studies included only cases of CHD that resulted in death. Nevertheless, they add substantially to the total amount of information that is available.

These studies bring a greater diversity of experience to bear on the research questions, in part because they were done in other countries: the United Kingdom, Germany, and India. Also, while Adventists are vegetarians for reasons of health and, in some cases, for “moral purity,” the non-Adventist vegetarians are much more likely to be motivated by concerns about animal rights or the environment. This is not to deny that many non-Adventists expect some health benefits or that many Adventists feel satisfied that their choices spare animal lives and reduce the exploitation of scarce environmental resources (Gussow, 1994; Lewis, 1994). Another difference is that although most of the non-Adventist subjects are lacto-ovo vegetarians, as were the Adventists, there is a higher percentage of vegans among the non-Adventist vegetarians.

The four studies of non-Adventist vegetarians are the Health Food Shoppers and the Oxford Vegetarian Studies, both done in the United Kingdom; the Heidelberg Vegetarian Study, in Germany; and a casecontrol study of acute myocardial infarction, in Bangalore, India. Another cohort of approximately 25,000 British vegetarians has been established at Oxford University as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), but the investigators have not yet reported findings on new disease events.

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