Vegetarian Diet May Not Lower Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

HealthDay News — Vegetarians appear to have no significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) over 10 years compared with those who eat meat, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Las Vegas.

Hyunseok Kim, MD, MPH, an internal medicine resident at Rutgers New Jersey School of Medicine in Newark, and colleagues analyzed data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2010. The study included 11,592 adults aged 20 or older. Of those, 263 — 2.3% — followed a vegetarian diet. The researchers examined rates of obesity, average waist circumference, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome. They also assessed the Framingham CVD risk estimate.

The team found that vegetarians tended to be young (aged 20 to 39), female, and nonsmokers. Vegetarians were less likely to be obese or have hypertension, and also had significantly lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome, after adjusting for age, sex, and race. However, the researchers observed no significant difference in Framingham CVD risk after adjustment.

“There was no significant difference in terms of Framingham CVD risk, after adjustment, implying lower CVD risk (2.7% vs 4.5%) may be confounded by younger age and female gender,” the researchers concluded.

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  1. Kim H-S, Rotundo L, Deutsch J, et al. Abstract P1382. Obesity and cardiovascular disease risk in vegetarians in the United States: a population-based study. Presented at: American College of Gastroenterology 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course; October 14-19, 2016; Las Vegas, NV.