Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vegetarianism can reduce risk of heart disease by up to a third

Date:
January 30, 2013
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
The risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32 percent lower in vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish, according to a new study. Heart disease is the single largest cause of death in developed countries, and is responsible for 65,000 deaths each year in the UK alone. The new findings suggest that a vegetarian diet could significantly reduce people's risk of heart disease.

The risk of heart disease in vegetarians is about a third lower than in comparable non-vegetarians.
Credit: Ariwasabi / Fotolia

The risk of hospitalisation or death from heart disease is 32% lower in vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish, according to a new study from the University of Oxford.

Heart disease is the single largest cause of death in developed countries, and is responsible for 65,000 deaths each year in the UK alone. The new findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that a vegetarian diet could significantly reduce people's risk of heart disease.

'Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease,' explains Dr Francesca Crowe, lead author of the study at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford.

This is the largest study ever conducted in the UK comparing rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

The analysis looked at almost 45,000 volunteers from England and Scotland enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study, of whom 34% were vegetarian. Such a significant representation of vegetarians is rare in studies of this type, and allowed researchers to make more precise estimates of the relative risks between the two groups.

The EPIC-Oxford cohort study was funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council and carried out by the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford.

Professor Tim Key, co-author of the study and deputy director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, said: 'The results clearly show that the risk of heart disease in vegetarians is about a third lower than in comparable non-vegetarians.'

The Oxford researchers arrived at the figure of 32% risk reduction after accounting for factors such as age, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, educational level and socioeconomic background.

Participants were recruited to the study throughout the 1990s, and completed questionnaires regarding their health and lifestyle when they joined. These included detailed questions on diet and exercise as well as other factors affecting health such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Almost 20,000 participants also had their blood pressures recorded, and gave blood samples for cholesterol testing.

The volunteers were tracked until 2009, during which time researchers identified 1235 cases of heart disease. This comprised 169 deaths and 1066 hospital diagnoses, identified through linkage with hospital records and death certificates. Heart disease cases were validated using data from the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP).

The researchers found that vegetarians had lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels than non-vegetarians, which is thought to be the main reason behind their reduced risk of heart disease.

Vegetarians typically had lower body mass indices (BMI) and fewer cases of diabetes as a result of their diets, although these were not found to significantly affect the results. If the results are adjusted to exclude the effects of BMI, vegetarians remain 28% less likely to develop heart disease.

The findings reinforce the idea that diet is central to prevention of heart disease, and build on previous work looking at the influence of vegetarian diets, the researchers say.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Francesca L Crowe, Paul N Appleby, Ruth C Travis, and Timothy J Key. Risk of hospitalization or death from ischemic heart disease among British vegetarians and nonvegetarians: results from the EPIC-Oxford cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr, January 30, 2013 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.112.044073

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Vegetarianism can reduce risk of heart disease by up to a third." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130121637.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2013, January 30). Vegetarianism can reduce risk of heart disease by up to a third. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130121637.htm
University of Oxford. "Vegetarianism can reduce risk of heart disease by up to a third." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130121637.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins