Vegetarian diet, Seventh Day Adventists and risk of cardiovascular mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Chun Shing Kwok, Saadia Umar, Phyo K Myint, Mamas A Mamas, Yoon K Loke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Dietary interventions are an important component of cardiovascular risk factor management although their impact on cardiovascular risk and mortality remains uncertain. We have studied influence of a vegetarian diet on cardiovascular risk and mortality.

METHODS: We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE for comparative studies that evaluated clinical outcomes associated with vegetarian diet as compared to non-vegetarian controls or the general population. Relevant studies were pooled using random effects meta-analysis for risk of death, ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and cerebrovascular disease. We conducted subgroup analysis according to specific type of cohort (e.g. Seventh Day Adventist [SDA]) and gender.

RESULTS: Eight studies met the inclusion criteria with 183,321 participants (n=183,321). There was significant heterogeneity in all the meta-analyses, particularly evident with the studies of SDA. In all instances, we found that SDA studies showed greater effect size as compared to non-SDA studies: death (RR 0.68 95% CI 0.45-1.02 vs RR 1.04 95% CI 0.98-1.10), ischaemic heart disease (IHD) (RR 0.60 95% CI 0.43-0.80 vs RR 0.84 95% CI 0.74-0.96) and cerebrovascular disease (RR 0.71 95% CI 0.41-1.20 vs RR 1.05 95% CI 0.89-1.24). Sex specific analyses showed that IHD was significantly reduced in both genders but risk of death and cerebrovascular disease was only significantly reduced in men.

CONCLUSIONS: Data from observational studies indicates that there is modest cardiovascular benefit, but no clear reduction in overall mortality associated with a vegetarian diet. This evidence of benefit is driven mainly by studies in SDA, whereas the effect of vegetarian diet in other cohorts remains unproven.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-686
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Volume176
Issue number3
Early online date4 Aug 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2014

Keywords

  • vegetarian
  • cardiovascular disease
  • ischaemic heart disease
  • stroke
  • mortality

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