Adventist Review Online | Adventists Live Longer, But Not Every Adventist Is the Same

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Top researcher discusses ongoing implications of the Adventist Health Study-2.

Gary E. Fraser, who was until recently the principal investigator of Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2), assured the more than 800 health professionals from 90 countries attending the 3rd Global Health Conference that Adventists still live longer. 

“Adventists continue to have a longevity advantage,” Fraser said during his plenary presentation on July 10, 2019. This is congruent with older results from California studies showing that Adventist men live 7.3 years longer than the average population, and women 4.4 years. For vegetarian Adventists, these differences swell to 9.5 and 6.1 years. 

Fraser’s statistics are based on results from AHS-2—the largest study of vegans and vegetarians in the world. 

The objectives of his presentation, among others, he said, were to update attendees on AHS-2 findings within the past five years and “to evaluate the evidence among Adventists that plant-based nutrition and omnivorous diets have different health consequences.” And the evidence that a plant-based diet helps to prolong life, he says, is significant.

Vegetarian Adventists as a group (vegans, ovo-lacto vegetarians, and others), when compared to Adventists who eat red meat or poultry at least once each week, show substantial health advantages, Fraser said. They evidence less risk of diabetes and have lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.  

Total mortality of overall disease events is about 12 percent lower for all age groups. Total cancers, cancers of the colon and rectum, and cardiovascular disease are also less frequent. 

“We must also bear in mind that nonvegetarian Adventists on average are low meat eaters,” Fraser said. “How much more impressive might it look if we had an Adventist comparison group of regular meat eaters.”

According to Fraser, “compared to other Americans, Adventists experience reductions in risk of all cancers lumped together by 30 percent,” and older information indicates a 50 percent reduction of cardiovascular disease.

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