N Z Med J. 1998 Mar; 111(1062): 91-4.
The nutritional health of New Zealand vegetarian and non-vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists: selected vitamin, mineral and lipid levels.
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin.
AIM: To determine whether adult non-vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists differ in selected nutrition related health aspects from adult vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists. METHODS: One hundred and forty-one Seventh-day Adventist church members responded to a general health questionnaire. Forty-seven sex and age matched subjects (23 non-vegetarians and 24 vegetarians) were selected for further investigation. Blood lipids, serum vitamin B12, folate, haemoglobin and ferritin levels were measured along with stature, weight and blood pressure. A quantitative 7-day diet record was also completed. RESULTS: Body mass index was similar between the non-vegetarian and vegetarian groups but diastolic blood pressure was higher for non-vegetarian than vegetarian males. Even though the dietary vitamin B12 intake was significantly lower (p < 0.01) in the vegetarian group both vegetarians and non-vegetarians recorded similar serum vitamin B12 levels. The vegetarian and non-vegetarian groups had similar haemoglobin concentrations. While dietary iron intake was higher in the female vegetarian group, though predominantly in the non-haem form, the difference was not significant. Low serum ferritin levels were found in both female dietary groups even though the vegetarian group had a significantly (p < 0.05) higher vitamin C intake. Blood lipid levels were similar in the two diet groups even though the vegetarian group had a lower percentage energy contribution from total and saturated fat (p < 0.01) and consumed significantly less cholesterol. CONCLUSION: Both non-vegetarian and vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists appear likely to enjoy a lower risk of nutrition related chronic degenerative disease than the average New Zealander and have a satisfactory iron and vitamin B12 status.