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Attenuated associations between increasing BMI and unfavorable lipid profiles in Chinese Buddhist vegetarians.

Xiamen Diabetes Institute, Department of Endocrine and Diabetes, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, 55 Zhen-Hai Road, Xiamen 361003, PR China. .
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 1.36). 01/2013; 22(2):249-56.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Obesity is related to hyperlipidemia and risk of cardiovascular disease. Health benefits of vegetarian diets have well-documented in the Western countries where both obesity and hyperlipidemia were prevalent. We studied the association between BMI and various lipid/lipoprotein measures, as well as between BMI and predicted coronary heart disease probability in lean, low risk populations in Southern China. The study included 170 Buddhist monks (vegetarians) and 126 omnivore men. Interaction between BMI and vegetarian status was tested in the multivariable regression analysis adjusting for age, education, smoking, alcohol drinking, and physical activity. Compared with omnivores, vegetarians had significantly lower mean BMI, blood pressures, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol to high density lipoprotein ratio, triglycerides, apolipoprotein B and A-I, as well as lower predicted probability of coronary heart disease. Higher BMI was associated with unfavorable lipid/lipoprotein profile and predicted probability of coronary heart disease in both vegetarians and omnivores. However, the associations were significantly diminished in Buddhist vegetarians. Conclusions: Vegetarian diets not only lower BMI, but also attenuate the BMI-related increases of atherogenic lipid/ lipoprotein and the probability of coronary heart disease.

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