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      Hypertension and blood pressure among meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans in EPIC–Oxford

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      Public Health Nutrition

      CABI Publishing

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          Abstract

          Objective:

          To compare the prevalence of self-reported hypertension and mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures in four diet groups (meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans) and to investigate dietary and other lifestyle factors that might account for any differences observed between the groups.

          Design:

          Analysis of cross-sectional data from participants in the Oxford cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC–Oxford).

          Setting:

          United Kingdom.

          Subjects:

          Eleven thousand and four British men and women aged 20–78 years at blood pressure measurement.

          Results:

          The age-adjusted prevalence of self-reported hypertension was significantly different between the four diet groups, ranging from 15.0% in male meat eaters to 5.8% in male vegans, and from 12.1% in female meat eaters to 7.7% in female vegans, with fish eaters and vegetarians having similar and intermediate prevalences. Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly different between the four diet groups, with meat eaters having the highest values and vegans the lowest values. The differences in age-adjusted mean blood pressure between meat eaters and vegans among participants with no self-reported hypertension were 4.2 and 2.6 mmHg systolic and 2.8 and 1.7 mmHg diastolic for men and women, respectively. Much of the variation was attributable to differences in body mass index between the diet groups.

          Conclusions:

          Non-meat eaters, especially vegans, have a lower prevalence of hypertension and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures than meat eaters, largely because of differences in body mass index.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 13

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          Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies.

          We combined data from 5 prospective studies to compare the death rates from common diseases of vegetarians with those of nonvegetarians with similar lifestyles. A summary of these results was reported previously; we report here more details of the findings. Data for 76172 men and women were available. Vegetarians were those who did not eat any meat or fish (n = 27808). Death rate ratios at ages 16-89 y were calculated by Poisson regression and all results were adjusted for age, sex, and smoking status. A random-effects model was used to calculate pooled estimates of effect for all studies combined. There were 8330 deaths after a mean of 10.6 y of follow-up. Mortality from ischemic heart disease was 24% lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians (death rate ratio: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.62, 0.94; P 5 y. Further categorization of diets showed that, in comparison with regular meat eaters, mortality from ischemic heart disease was 20% lower in occasional meat eaters, 34% lower in people who ate fish but not meat, 34% lower in lactoovovegetarians, and 26% lower in vegans. There were no significant differences between vegetarians and nonvegetarians in mortality from cerebrovascular disease, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, or all other causes combined.
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            The relation between blood pressure and mortality due to coronary heart disease among men in different parts of the world. Seven Countries Study Research Group.

            Elevated blood pressure is known to be a risk factor for death from coronary heart disease (CHD). However, it is unclear whether the risk of death from CHD in relation to blood pressure varies among populations. In six populations in different parts of the world, we examined systolic and diastolic blood pressures and hypertension in relation to long-term mortality from CHD, both with and without adjustment for variability in blood pressure within individual subjects. Blood pressure was measured at base-line in 12,031 men (age range, 40 to 59 years) who were free of CHD. During 25 years of follow-up, 1291 men died from CHD. At systolic and diastolic blood pressures of about 140 and 85 mm Hg, respectively, 25-year rates of mortality from CHD (standardized for age) varied by a factor of more than three among the populations. Rates in the United States and northern Europe were high (approximately 70 deaths per 10,000 person-years), but rates in Japan and Mediterranean southern Europe were low (approximately 20 deaths per 10,000 person-years). However, the relative increase in 25-year mortality from CHD for a given increase in blood pressure was similar among the populations. The overall unadjusted relative risk of death due to CHD was 1.17 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.14 to 1.20) per 10 mm Hg increase in systolic pressure and 1.13 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.15) per 5 mm Hg increase in diastolic pressure, and it was 1.28 for each of these increments after adjustment for within-subject variability in blood pressure. Among the six populations we studied, the relative increase in long-term mortality due to CHD for a given increase in blood pressure is similar, whereas the absolute risk at the same level of blood pressure varies substantially. If the absolute risk of CHD is used as an indication for antihypertensive therapy, these findings will have major implications for treatment in different parts of the world.
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              Blood Pressure, Systolic and Diastolic, and Cardiovascular Risks

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Public Health Nutrition
                Public Health Nutr.
                CABI Publishing
                1368-9800
                1475-2727
                December 2002
                December 22 2006
                December 2002
                : 5
                : 5
                : 645-654
                Article
                10.1079/PHN2002332
                12372158
                © 2002

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