(HealthDay News) — A vegetarian diet may reduce cardiovascular risk in black individuals, according to research published online March 17 in Public Health Nutrition.

Gary Fraser, MD, PhD, of Loma Linda University in California, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional sub-analysis of data for 592 black women and men included in a cohort of Seventh-Day Adventists. The authors sought to compare cardiovascular risk factors for vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

The researchers found that black vegetarians or vegans, compared with black non-vegetarians, had a lower risk of hypertension (odds ratio [OR], 0.56; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.36–0.87), diabetes (OR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.24–0.98), high blood total cholesterol level (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.27–0.65), and high blood low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (OR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.33–0.89), after multivariable adjustment. Compared with black non-vegetarians, black vegetarians/vegans and black pesco-vegetarians had a lower risk of obesity (ORs, 0.43 [95% CI, 0.28–67] and 0.47 [95% CI, 0.27–0.81], respectively) and abdominal obesity (ORs, 0.54 [95% CI, 0.36–0.82] and 0.50 [95% CI, 0.29–0.84], respectively).

“As with non-blacks, these results suggest that there are sizeable advantages to a vegetarian diet in black individuals also, although a cross-sectional analysis cannot conclusively establish cause,” the authors write.

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