(HealthDay News) – Compared with non-vegetarians, vegetarians have reduced all-cause mortality, according to a study published online June 3 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Michael J. Orlich, MD, from Loma Linda University in California, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 73,308 Seventh-day Adventist men and women to examine the correlation between vegetarian dietary patterns and all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Diet was assessed using a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and classified into five patterns.

During a mean follow-up of 5.79 years, the researchers identified 2,570 deaths, with a mortality rate of 6.05 per 1,000 person-years. In all vegetarians combined vs. non-vegetarians, the adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause mortality was significantly reduced (0.88). Compared with non-vegetarians, the adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 0.85 for vegans, 0.91 for lacto-ovo-vegetarians, 0.81 for pesco-vegetarians, and 0.92 for semi-vegetarians. Vegetarian diet was significantly correlated with cardiovascular mortality, non-cardiovascular non-cancer mortality, renal mortality, and endocrine mortality. The correlations were larger and more often significant for men than women.

“In conclusion, in a large American cohort, we found that vegetarian dietary patterns were associated with lower mortality,” the authors write. “The evidence that vegetarian diets, or similar diets with reduced meat consumption, may be associated with a lower risk of death should be considered carefully by individuals as they make dietary choices and by those offering dietary guidance.”

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