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Prev Med. 1999 Dec;29(6 Pt 2):S18-23.

Diet as primordial prevention in Seventh-Day Adventists.

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Loma Linda University, California 92350, USA.


Epidemiologic studies of Seventh-Day Adventists have clearly shown that dietary habits are associated with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and other chronic diseases. However, a few surprising results emerge. Meat consumption is clearly hazardous for Adventist men by raising CHD mortality. However, no such effect was seen in women. Possible reasons are discussed. Our data, and that of others, strongly support the role of a fatty food, specifically nuts, as protective for CHD. The possible implications of this result for fat intake as a risk factor for CHD are discussed. In particular, it may be that consumption of modest quantities of certain fats is beneficial, rather than hazardous. The lower risk of CHD in Adventists probably has a complicated explanation and certainly cannot be entirely explained by their nonsmoking status or a superior serum lipid profile. Adventists are unique in that the majority of this group have adopted a dietary habit that is either vegetarian or tending in this direction. The power of incorporating health into a system of religious belief is discussed. Possibly others can also implement such a model to their advantage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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