A comparison of first event coronary heart disease rates in two contrasting California populations

J Nutr Health Aging. 2005;9(1):53-8.


Objectives: To directly evaluate whether a population, many of whom are vegetarian or near vegetarian, does experience less coronary heart disease (CHD).

Methods: Two concurrent California observational studies,one with unusual dietary habits, are compared. Similar diagnostic criteria were used in both the Adventist Health Study and the Stanford Five-City Project.

Results: Age-standardized rate ratios (Adventist/Stanford study) for first event fatal CHD were 0.59 (95% confidence interval,0.43-0.80) in men and 0.49(0.32-0.76) in women. Similar ratios for first event myocardial infarction were 0.60(0.47-0.78) and 0.46 (0.33-0.65). Ratios are usually much lower at younger ages or when comparisons include only vegetarian Adventists.

Conclusion: Lifestyle factors can markedly change the first-event CHD experience of whole populations, and appear to especially protect against premature events.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • California / epidemiology
  • Christianity
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires