Washington: A new study from the University of Oxford has found that the risk of hospitalisation or death from heart disease is 32 percent lower in vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish.Heart disease is the single largest cause of death in developed countries. The new findings suggest that a vegetarian diet could significantly reduce people`s risk of heart disease."Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease," explains Dr Francesca Crowe, lead author of the study at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford.This is the largest study ever conducted in the UK comparing rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.The analysis looked at almost 45,000 volunteers from England and Scotland enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study, of whom 34 percents were vegetarian. Such a significant representation of vegetarians is rare in studies of this type, and allowed researchers to make more precise estimates of the relative risks between the two groups.The EPIC-Oxford cohort study was funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council and carried out by the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford.
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